Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

Join me on my Adventures in Elementary Education

African American History Month Project


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!


 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 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!

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.

Cooking 1621 Style- Our Experience Making Ship’s Biscuits


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

Our First Publication of Room 11 Times! Hot Off the Presses for Your Enjoyment!


My students have been hard at work on writing thier first news articles this month.  We have been reading non-fiction, writing non-fiction, and editing our writing.  As a culminating activity, we have developed, what I hope is the first of many editions, of our class newspaper, The Room 11 Times.  Please peruse the articles written by my students by clicking on the link below to open the PDF file.  As editor-in-chief, I am very proud of their work.  I would also like to let you know other then a very few corrections, these articles are published in the format that the students delevered them.  Enjoy!  I am certainly grateful for my young authors this Thanksgiving!

November Class News

Virtual Field Trip to the Plimoth Plantation to Attend the First Thanksgiving


This week we will be taking a trip way back in time to the first Thanksgiving. Ok, I did not develop a time machine (though that would be AMAZING and I would so take a year off to re-examine life choices and visit places I’ve read about ), rather we will be using the amazing site put together by one of my favorite publishers, Scholastic. We will be visiting the settlers and the Wampanoag Native American tribe to learn about life for children at the beginning of our country’s exisistance. Students will be using the information they gather to write their next full length writing piece comparing and contrasting Thanksgiving now with the First Thanksgiving.

Take a peek at the website we will be using curtesy of

Thanksgiving Historical Investigation

In addition to this investigation we will be wrapping up out math topic 10 with a quiz on Tuesday.
Also a reminder that our Attitude of Gratitude journals are due on Wednesday for a Social Studies test grade!


Veteran’s Day November 11th


Next Monday we will will honor our veterans.  Veterans are men and women who have fought in wars and conflicts as part of our armed forces.  I am honored to remember the service of my grandfather and uncles on Veteran’s Day each year.  Please take a moment (or 4) to watch the video below to learn more about the wars veterans have fought in, sacrifices they have made, and ways in which we honor them.  We will be writing to troops next week who are currently stationed abroad to help lift their spirits.


Feliz Dia De Los Muertos!


dia de los muertos 2Today we looked at the holidays that different cultures celebrate at the end of October.  Traditionally, in America we celebrate Halloween.  Halloween, however, has its origins in Europe and we took a trip down our collective memory lane this morning to discover how we evolved from the pagan traditions of the 1700’s to the trick-or-treating we participate in today.  The History Channel provided us with some entertaining and educational videos to learn about how our current traditions came to be.

When we were done learning about the history of our traditions, we took a trip South of the border to Mexico to learn about Dia de los Muertos.  We learned about the symbols of the holiday and how it is celebrated.  We spent some time comparing and contrasting the two celebrations.

dia de los muertos 3

Finally after all of our research, we created our own versions of the highly decorated skulls used in Dia de los Muertos celebrations.  We looked at images of how to decorate the skulls and what the symbols represent and got to work being creative! 

dia de los muertos 1

Delving into History with The Navajo Code Talkers- Weekly Objectives 10/28-11/1



navajo code talkersThis week we will be beginning our investigation into historical non fiction.  We will be beginning with the epic story of The Navajo Code Talkers.  What an amazing group of men!  In addition to learning about these brave Native Americans, we will also be beginning our Social Studies unit on the Native American tribes of NJ. 

Our week is jam packed with learning and activities.  On Monday, we will be having a special guest come in to observe my teaching.  As part of our process to ensure that all students are receiving outstanding educational opportunities in our district, each teacher is observed 3 times a year by a supervisor.  My first observation is Monday morning and I know that my students are going to blow Mrs. Colacurccio out of the water with their awesomeness!  On Tuesday, the class will have thier first full day guest teacher for the year.  I am also sure that they will impress our guest teacher, Mrs. Kelley, with thier cooperation, great behavior, and hard work.  In addistion to our guest teacher Tuesday, it is also School Picture Day so please dress to the nines and remember your picture money.  Tuesday night is our annual Halloween Frolic.  There are many new additions to this awesome tradition this year including healthy snacks for $1, a hay ride, and a costume competition and dance in the gym.  Wednesday and Friday we will be hosting our college students from CCC who are in observing us this month.  Thursday we will be having our Halloween Party. Look for a flier on Monday highlighting snack ideas to send in.  Below are the learning objectives we are somehow fitting in:


Students will be learning how to multiply 2, 3, and 4 digit numbers by 1 digit numbers this week!  We will also be having a multiples of 10 and 100 test on Tuesday.

2-digit times 1-digit number: Multiplying a 2-digit times a 1-digit number


This week we will be reading about The Navajo Code Talkers.  Please click on the following link to learn some background information about these amazing men.  Navajo Code Talkers

We will also be working with sequencing events in a story as well as writing instructions in a sequential order.  The video below will help to review why sequencing is important.


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.


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