Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

Join me on my Adventures in Elementary Education

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


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.


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


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.



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!


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:


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:



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


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:


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


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:


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


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:



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.

School Wide Thanksgiving Feast and Weekly Objectives 11/18-11/22


This week is perhaps one of my favorite each year here at RM Bacon Elementary School.  On Wednesday, our staff prepares and entire Thanksgiving dinner for every student to enjoy.  I love sitting down with “my kids” and sharing this meal.  We all sit as a class and are served by our student leaders and staff members.  It is one of those times that I am truly humbled by the teamwork, donations, and volunteers that pull off this event each year.  While I am on the topic of Thanksgiving this is just a friendly reminder that your child should be recording something he or she is thankful for each evening in their gratitude journal. This paper is going to be collected on Wednesday, November 27th and counts as a Social Studies Project grade.   If you child has lost his or her paper, there are extras in the classroom.


Weekly learning goals and support videos:


We will be taking a math test on Monday to wrap up our unit on 2 digit multiplication.  This does not mean we are done with this  for the year, but that we will be moving on.

Tuesday through Friday we will be reviewing division.  Please review the link below to review the steps.

Division Review


This week we are working on reading non fiction.  We are also writing our first class newspaper articles.  Our first class newspaper will be published and sent home on the 27th. 

Here is a short video about how to generate a topic for an article:



In addition to writing articles we will be reading a non fiction passage about Smokejumpers.  Here are some tips for reading non fiction:




We will begin creating simple circuits this week.  A simple circuit transmits energy from a source to create light, heat, or sound.  Please click on the link below to review the necessary requirements to create a simple circuit.

Simple Circuits



Unit 1 is Complete!!!!! Moving on to Unit 2. Weekly Objectives 10/21-10/25


We survived our first round of Model Assessments.  My students were assessed on both math and language arts skills that we have covered from the first week of school until last Friday.  I have to say they worked very hard and the data I received will help to guide my instruction for the coming unit.  We do have some areas that we will continue to review from Unit 1, but we need to shift our focus forward to Unit 2.  Please see our learning goals and lessons to support learning below:


This week we will be extending on our multiplication knowledge and working with multiples of 10 and 100.  Students will be looking for patterns and simpler problems to solve to help them with this concept.  For example:  5 x 200= 5 x 2 first and then add 2 zeros to the end of the answer  5 x 2= 10   add 2 zeros= 1000. 

Multiplying by multiples of 10:



We will be wrapping up our investigation with magnets this week.  So far we have experimented with what magnets stick to, whether magnets work underwater, whether magnets work through other materials such as a box, and researched industrial uses for magnets.  Students will have an oportunity to revisit these experiments this week and will be quizzed on magnets and their properties on Friday.  Please review the video below.



We will be combining reading and social studies for the next few weeks as we begin our study of the genre (type), Historical Non-Fiction.  Throughout our study of this genre we will be looking at identifying cause and effect, working with first and second hand accounts of historical events, and comparing and contrasting  life in the past to life today.

This website offers a great explanation and practice with Cause and Effect.

Another great tutorial with practice, this time for Compare and Contrast.

Here is a Prezi on First and Second Hand Accounts.


Marshmallow Architects


On Friday we experienced what it is like to be an Architect. Prior to designing and building our own structures, we watched a YouTube video on what exactly an architect does. Check out the link below to watch the clip!

So You Want to Be an Architect”

Once we learned that the first job of an architect is to design, we worked in groups of 4-5 to draw a design for our structure to be created out of only mini marshmallows and tooth picks. Each group had 15 minutes to sketch a design. After they had a sketch, they worked as a group to implement their design. They had 1 hour, 1 bag of mini marshmallows, and 150 tooth picks to complete this task. The competition requirements were to have the tallest sturdiest tower. All structures would be measured at the end of the hour for height and again at the end of the day to see which group’s was the sturdiest. Groups also had to measure the length and width of the base and use those measurements to calculate the perimeter and area of the base.

Our winning group had an original height of 12 inches and an ending height of 6 inches.



Better Late Than Never! EGGsperiment Results


After a much needed technology break, I’m back!  Just before Spring Break, we participated in an EGGsperiment EGGstravaganza.  Students completed 5 experiments using eggs in many different forms.  For each experiment they were given the materials and procedure but had to create a hypothesis and then record observations in their lab report.  We had an awesome day!  Below are the experiments and instructions.  Thank you to the many teachers who post to Pinterest!  I unfortunately can not take complete credit for developing the experiments on my own, only for implementing them in my class.

EGGsperiment #1- The Bouncing Egg

For this experiment 2 eggs were used.  One was raw, the other was hard boiled.  Both eggs spent 48 hours soaking in vinegar to strip them of their outer shells.  Once stripped, students created a hypothesis as to how high off the table we could hold the egg and drop it without it breaking.  Most students guess between 3-5 inches.  Our raw egg made it to 9 inches and our hard boiled one never did bust!


EGGsperiment #2- Humpty Dumpty

Students were given raw eggs for this one.  They had to hypothesize the outcome of the egg falling off our “wall” onto cotton balls, paper, and the desk.  Most Humpties made it up until the desk trial.


EGGsperiment #3- The Volcanic Egg

For this experiment, students were given hard boiled eggs to paint with a paste of baking soda and food coloring.  Once painted they had to hypothesize what would happen when they dropped the egg into a cup of vinegar.  Things got quite colorfully messy!


EGGsperiment #4- The Incredible Shrinking Egg

Students were given 2 naked eggs (raw eggs that had been soaked in vinegar for 48 hours to remove outer shell).  One egg spent 24 hours naked in water.  The other egg spent 24 hours naked in a water/sugar solution.  They had to hypothesize what would happen when they pierced each of the eggs with a thumb tack.  The Sugar egg was much weaker and exploded, while the water egg only let out a fountain stream of water.

EGGsperiment #5- The Strong Egg

This experiment was two-fold.  The first part had students test their strength vs. that of an egg.  Could they crush an egg in one hand?  In most cases that answer was no!  

The second part of the experiment was to place 2 eggs under a stack of books and hypothesize how many would be needed to crush them.  Surprisingly, the answer was many more than most students predicted, but in the end all eggs were eventually smashed!




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EGGstra Special Weekly Objectives! Week of March 25-28


This week, while being a short one, will be jam packed with EGGciting EGGsperiments, drama, sports, mystery and more! 

On Monday, my little thespians will be performing a scene from their guided reading stories from last week.  Each group was assigned a one act play to read to learn how to interpret text in a different way.  As a culminating event, they will be choosing and performing one scene from their play instead of taking a normal paper and pencil text.  Their plays will be recorded and posted to the blog for them to view and share with their families!

In Math this week, we are continuing to work with fractions.  We are focusing on making improper (top heavy) fractions into mixed numbers and vice versa.  To make an improper fraction a mixed number, divide the numerator by the denominator.  The answer is your whole number and your remainder is the new numerator for your new fraction.  Example:   7/5 = 1  2/5

To change a mixed number into an improper fraction, multiply your denominator by the whole number, add the numerator to that answer, and place your final answer over your denominator.  Example:  1  2/5= 5 x 1= 5,  5+2=7  improper fraction = 7/5

On Wednesday, we will be having our annual staff vs. student floor hockey game (here’s hoping I don’t break anything)!

Thursday is our school wide scavenger hunt as well as our EGGsperiment EGGstravaganza!  The experiments we will be conducting are as follows:

EGGsperiment #1- the volcanic egg

EGGsperiment # 2- Humpty Dumpty

EGGsperiment #3- The Incredible Shrinking (and Expanding) Egg

EGGsperiment #4- The Naked and Bouncing Egg

EGGsperiment #5- The Unbreakable Egg

Please dress your child in play clothes as this may get messy!

Eggstra! Eggstra! Room 11 Needs your Eggsistance!


We will be holding an EGGsperimentally Awesome day next Thursday and could use some help!  We are in need of the following items:

Raw eggs (at least 6 dozen or more)

Vinegar (1 large bottle- think BJ’s size)

Egg dye kits (1 or 2 would be plenty)

Cotton Balls (1 bag)

Baking Soda (1 box is plenty)

1 bottle of soda (for experimental purposes only! Flavor does not matter)

1 package of large clear plastic cups

All of these ingredients will add up to a spectacularly scientific Eggstravaganza!  Any student who brings in one of the above items will receive 10 extra credit points on this week’s Science test.  If you would like to volunteer to help us on Thursday, March 28th, we would love to have you!  Please contact Mrs. Sinone to let her know you will be coming.  Also on Thursday, March 28th please dress your child in play clothes as some of these EGGsperiments are quite messy! 

We hope to see you for an EGGcellent time!

Owl Pellet Day!


Nothing says Monday morning like digging through owl vomit!  Today is the day!  We are finally done virtually dissecting our owl pellets and ready to really dissect one.  We spent the first part of the morning learning how to take proper lab notes.  After expectations were set, we moved on to the dirty stuff! 


We began by simply observing our owl pellet, taking some basic measurements, recording our observations, and sketching in our lab report.

Once that was done, we began pulling the bones out and separating the fur and trash from them.  While we were pulling them apart we matched them to our bone identification chart to begin making a prediction as to what this particular owl meal happened to be.


Finally, once all of our bones were identified, we put our skeletons together and made a decision as to what animal the owl last ate.  In completing this lab, we learned about food chains, ecosystems, skeletal systems, the experimental process, and how to create lab reports.  To quote a student, “This was the coolest experiment all year!”  That’s going to be a tough one to top (good thing I have another eggsperimentallly awesome idea for next week)!

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