Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

Join me on my Adventures in Elementary Education

Preparation is the Best Remedy for Anxiety



I received an email from a former student this morning.  Yes, it is July.  Ye,s it is Saturday.  Yes, I realize that as a teacher most of my friends and family think I am off duty for the summer.  I was to happy to realize that my students know better!  This child was with me for 4th grade and a frequent visitor to my class during her 5th grade year as well.  It dawned on her this morning (sometime after midnight but be for  I checked my email at 7:30) that she was growing up and that that is scary.  In addition to growing up, she like many students her age is freaking out about transitioning to middle school.  In particular she was scared that others would make fun of her because she forgot how to do long division already.  Well, I am not going to allow one of “my kids” to enter a new school year feeling overwhelmed or unprepared!  I know for a fact she is not alone in these fears.  My own daughter and her friends are also  making this leap this year.  It is a constant conversation in our house as to how she can handle her stress about this change.

I have always felt the best way to conquer anxiety is to be as best prepared for the anxiety-causing situation as possible.  As a response to my former students concerns, as well as my own concerns for my daughter and her friends, I have created a group on for 5th graders transitioning to 6th grade.  Starting Monday, I will post some interactive online review sessions for students to complete to brush up on Math and Language Arts skills to help build their confidence heading into middle school.  Any concepts presented would be beneficial to any 5th grader nation wide so feel free to share with your friends.  This opportunity is FREE and SECURE for students to participate in.  To sign up follow these steps:

1. If you don not have an account already, register for a free account on

2. Once you have an account, you will need the group code 88fc5f4 to join the Middle School Prep for 5th Graders group

3.  Please introduce yourself on our group wall and let me know of any specific skills you would like to review (I will try to accommodate as many requests as possible)

4.  Please remember that the group wall is to ask questions or provide support and although we are not in school, good cyber etiquette is still expected.  Anyone caught being inappropriate or mean will be removed from the group  without hesitation.

As I told my former student and repeatedly tell my daughter.  Growing up is scary, but you don’t have to do it yet!  Enjoy this next stage in life and, in the words of Bob Marley, “Don’t worry about a thing! ‘Cause every little thing’s gonna be alright!”  Enjoy the rest of your summer break and I look forward to working online with my “class” of students!

Farewell and Good Luck to the Class of 2023


Today may be our last day officially together, but it is in no way a good bye.  Regardless of where you end up in life, you have a life-long fan in me!  The hardest part in teaching, as in parenting, is learning to let go and trust that I’ve prepared you as much as possible for your future.  So to my Class of 2023 4th grade graduates I wish the following for you:

1.  Never grow up!  (I know we all tell you to grow up all the time, but we really don’t mean it!)

2.  Continue to see the wonder in the world!

3.  Stay innocent and joyful!

4.  Life is hard sometimes, but only sometimes- the good DOES outweigh the bad!

5.  Be the change we need to make this world better!  Discover things!  Create things!  Develop cures!  Write books!

6.  Be awesome!

7.  I am always here for you!  Regardless of how old you get, I am here to help if you need it!  Once a student, always a friend!

Below is the link to the end of the year video.  I create a video at the beginning of each year to set the tone for our future together and another at the end of the year to celebrate our successes.  This year, I chose the song, “Never Grow Up.”  As a teacher and parent, I love seeing the innocence and wonder and amazement of kids at this age.  They are right between stages- not quite a kid and not quite a teen.  Remember these times and try not to grow up too fast!!!!!!!  I love each of you and hope to see you visit next year!


Mrs. Sinone

The Struggle is Real- End of the Year Blues




It’s that time again.  The time of year when on one hand you are counting the days to fun in the sun and on the other hand you are dreading saying good bye to your students.  As the year ends, there are so many things to look forward to!  Awards ceremonies, concerts, fun days, and getting to all the crafty stuff we haven’t had time to do during the year are just a few of the perks the end of the school year provides.  Mixed in with those, however, are the creeping thoughts that these are the last smiles and laughs you’ll hear from these students for the summer.  Hopefully they come back to visit on their way to 5th grade next year, but for some they won’t.  They may be moving or transferring schools.  As a teacher I am often asked towards this point in June, “so how many days do you have left?”  Some days I know the number, but most days I respond, “not enough.”

To the parents of my students this year:  Thank you!!!!!!  Thank you for sharing your children with me.  Thank you for trusting me to guide them academically.  Thank you for getting them to school each day so I could hear all their stories.  Thank you for letting me share in their triumphs at concerts and sporting events.  Thank you for all the supplies and goodies sent in throughout the year (and for sticking to my healthy snacks only rule!).

To my students:  We aren’t done yet!  Thank you for coming and still being eager to learn.  Thank you for all the encouraging pictures and notes you leave me daily.  Thank you for your smiles and hugs.  Thank you for your funny stories.  Thank you for trying your best each day.  Thank you for being you. Thank you for challenging me to be the best me I can be and to learn better ways to teach you what you need to know!  Thank you for putting up with substitutes when I needed to attend trainings or care for my own kids when they were sick.  Thank you for the last 100+ days of laughter and learning.

To my husband and kids:  Thank you for sharing me with my students.  Thank you for understanding when I needed to spend hours grading or planning. Thank you for being my guinea pigs for many of my teaching ideas.  Thank you for coming to give me hugs at the end of some of the longer days throughout the year.  Thank you for adopting my class as part of our extended family and asking about them by name each night.

Our school’s motto is “Then, Now, Always Family.”  I can honestly say my family grows by 18-20 kids each year.  We laugh together, cry together, get mad at each other, get frustrated by each other, and learn from each other every day.  At the end of the day though, I can honestly say my heart grows exponentially each year to add “my kids” to my family.  You may leave, I may have a hard time placing a name in a few years when you are 2 feet taller than me and grown, but you’ll always be welcome in our school, in my class, or in what ever office I end up in some day as my career evolves.  I am always and email or a tweet away.  I cherish these final days and our final memories of this 4th grade year.  Each year I start off with a theme song and end with a farewell song and video.  Stay tuned for our farewell video the last day of school (it takes me a while to get through it!  Choosing pictures is hard when you are either cracking up or tearing up!).

Spring is in the Air!


This week we are wrapping up our first PARCC test for the year. To celebrate our students hard work we made paleo shamrock shakes. Why paleo? Well, we are a healthy schools school and are adhering to our mission to teach students about healthy food choices. This recipe results in a yummy, minty treat that is good for you too! Don’t let the list of ingredients fool you, they are amazing!
Just check out this shake-stache!


Paleo Shamrock Shakes
13 oz coconut milk (we used coconut dream)
1 avocado
1cup ice
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 tsp (depending on your mint preference) peppermint extract
3-4 tbsp honey

Blend and enjoy!


They loved it so much they even forgot that we were practicing our math skills by measuring!


After we had our yummy snack, we tested out our green thumbs by starting our windowsill herb garden and prepping our small growing trays for seeds we will plant tomorrow! We are studying plant life cycles, ecosystems, and learning responsibility as we prepare for earth day and spring!



Happy Thanksgiving from Our Class to Yours




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!


Mrs. Sinone and family

Celebration of Reading


This week we finished our first novel study for the year, The Chocolate Touch. As a culminating event, students presented projects they created based on our book study and we celebrated reading by partaking in a chocolate covered fruit party (since we are participating in the Healthy Schools initiative we did our best to keep it healthy)! Below are some pictures of our projects as well as our celebration.












For our next novels, we will be breaking into literature circles (book clubs) and reading books selected at the students reading level to provide more of a challenge. We will be starting this in January.

Happy Halloween!



We got into the Halloween spirit today with some spookily (May have just made up word) yummy snacks and our annual costume parade. Below is the recipes for our ghoulish treats:

Pumpkin Smoothies:
Canned pumpkin
Banana (or plain yogurt either work well)
All spice
Blend all ingredients until smooth

Halloween Parfaits:
Vanilla yogurt layered with canned pineapple chunks and canned mandarin oranges

Banana Spiders
Banana chunks with pretzel sticks as legs

Remember to be safe for those if you trick or treating tonight! Wear bright colors or take flashlights and don’t eat candy until your parents check it!!!!!!



Back to School Night Parent Information


Wow!  What a great turn out for our annual Back to School Night!  I was very happy to meet all of the parents who were able to make it up to our classroom.  For those parents who were unable to attend, please see the Prezi below to be up to date on our classroom procedures.  I also sent home a classroom “cheat sheet” with the important websites, email addresses, and policies on them in your child’s work folder.  Please be sure to sign up for the Remind 101 text updates to stay aware of the upcoming important dates!  Text @mrssino to 856-517-0666 (not my real phone number!)

Mrs. Sinone’s Not Bummer Summer Challenge


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 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!

Where Did the Year Go?


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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