Cultivating Minds Without Losing My Own

Join me on my Adventures in Elementary Education

Making RM Bacon a Bully-Free Zone

December3

bully free zone

 

Bullying is a hot topic issue in education.  Students learn best when they are in an environment in which they feel safe.  You can not feel safe if you are being bullied.  Therefore, it is a very high priority at RM Bacon Elementary School that we stop bullying in its tracks.

All staff members have been trained in how to spot, report, and respond to bullying when we see it.  The problem is bullies can be tricky and we don’t always see the behaviors.  Students also need to be trained so that they have the confidence to stand up for others and report what they are seeing.  We take bullying VERY seriously.  When bullying is reported it is investigated by our HIB (harassment, intimidation, and bullying) team.  This team consists of our guidance counselor, security guard, PBIS (positive behavior in schools) aide, and our principal.  Often the investigation ends with a positive outcome.  If the investigation proves that bullying exists, a plan of action is put into place including counseling, monitoring, and support for both the victim and bully.

We will be working with the CAP (Child Abuse Prevention) Team this Friday and next Monday to learn about bullying.  Students will learn about how to use their words wisely so as to not hurt others. They will also learn about different strategies to use when they feel that they are being treated unfairly.

How can you help?  Today bullying doesn’t only occur face to face.  Cyber bullying is a huge issue.  Please be aware of what your child is doing online or on their phones.  Texting mean messages has the same effect as saying them out loud.  Monitor your child’s internet usage.  Ask for passwords and usernames to keep tabs.  If they are on social media, insist on them including you as a “friend” or “follower.”  Below is a video defining cyber bullying and how you can help your child if they find themselves in this situation:

Here is a short music video that shows how bullying can impact a child and how having others stand up and speak out can change the direction of the bullying and give the child the confidence and support they need to stand up to the bully in an appropriate way. REMEMBER, BULLYING BACK IS NOT THE ANSWER!

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

Celebration of Reading

November21

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.

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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.

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Veteran’s Day Project Plans and Weekly Objectives November 10-14

November9

I can very honestly say that I can’t wait to return to work with my kiddos tomorrow and get away from the germs that plagued my home THE ENTIRE LONG WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!  At last count 4 out of 5 people in my home have been sick in the last week with a very unfun virus that left us stranded on the couch vegging out and watching movies.  Hopefully the return to routine will mean the return to health for me and my poor kids!

Last week we had a very short, very productive week.  We learned about the election process, became “registered voters” and elected a class president in a mock election.  Take a peek at what the kids learned as they reflected on the lesson below:

elections

 

This week we will continue on our project filled November by learning about Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day.  Students will be taking a virtual field trip to the Tower of London in England on Monday as they celebrate its 100th anniversary.  We will be analyzing memorials from our country as well as England, poetry, and non fiction text to learn more about why people create memorials.  We will be taking a second virtual field trip on Tuesday to visit the war memorials in Washington D.C.   After we explore the different memorials and compare their symbols, students will work cooperatively in groups to create their own memorial for our veterans.  Stay tuned for pictures next week of our hallway display.  Links to the twp virtual trips are below.  The first is offered through Discovery Education UK and the second is a video I shot on a trip to D.C. with my daughter, Madison, a few years ago.

Discovery Education Website

Mrs. Sinone’s Veterans Day short video:

We will also be participating in World Run Day on Tuesday afternoon.  Be sure to wear your sneakers!

world run day

 

Math:

This week we will be completing our 1st marking period benchmark assessment on Monday.  Later this week we will be working on using arrays and expanded algorithms (ways) to multiply 2 digit numbers.  See below for some video resources to help you at home.  This is a new way to do this and it is easier to help your child if you “see” it.

Please check out our Important Dates Page as this month is PACKED with important dates to remember.  I will be sending home conference reminder sheets on Monday of this week.   I will be out of the building on Wednesday as I work with the principals at the Senior High and Lakeside to gain some experience and interview them for my NJEXCEL principal program.  As always, I know my class will be in good hands with one of our substitutes.

How to Make a Short Week Meaningful

November3

It’s that month again- November… you know the one where we never seem to have a full week of school and even when we do everyone is sick thanks to the change of the weather!  While there are many days off during November, there are also many valuable teaching opportunities- especially in the area of Social Studies.   So how can we make the most of our shortened time together?  PROJECTS!!!!!!!!  It’s time to shake it up and bring on the projects!  Kids love them, teachers love them, and they lend themselves wonderfully to the stop/start nature of school days in this month!  Below are a few of the projects that we will be completing this month:

vote

First Week of November:  Election Day Project

This week we will be exploring the origins of Election Day, political parties, the voting process, and conducting our own mock election.  The video below explains why we vote on Tuesdays (a question I have often wondered myself as it seems like an odd choice for an election day!).  We will be working through the election process this week and voting for a mock candidate for class president.  Students will listen to campaign speeches from our two mock candidates, vote at the polls, and justify their choices.  They will also be making their own voter registration cards.

*Parents- if you go out to vote on Tuesday after school, take your kids with you and share the process!

Second Week of November:

During the second (and one of the only full weeks of school) of November, we will be researching the origins of Veteran’s Day.  Students will take a virtual field trip to see the many memorials dedicated to our fallen soldiers in our nation’s capital (see the video I created below).  They will then work in teams to design a memorial to honor our local veterans.

Third and Fourth week of November:

During the final full week and our last short week of November, we will be walking in the footsteps of the Pilgrims and learning about the first Thanksgiving.  We will be researching, comparing and contrasting the Thanksgiving feast we enjoy today with the one that those first settlers enjoyed.  Students will work in pairs to create a menu for today’s feast and a menu from the first Thanksgiving feast using various websites like the one below.  We will make a staple of the pilgrims diet- hardtack (yum) to enjoy in class together.

Scholastic’s First Thanksgiving Website

National Geographic’s First Thanksgiving Website

History Channel’s First Thanksgiving Website

This month I am thankful that I get to share these meaningful, cross-curricular lessons with my class!  I will be combining first and second hand accounts as well as multimedia to enhance my student’s learning experiences.  We will be creating, writing, debating, and collaboratively working to produce meaningful and memorable products.  Stay tuned to see the fruits of our labor in upcoming posts!

Happy Halloween!

October31

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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:
Milk
Canned pumpkin
Banana (or plain yogurt either work well)
Honey
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!!!!!!

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Write Like A Reporter

October30

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This morning we were visited by a local reporter, Chris Torres, from The Daily Journal. He spoke with our 4th and 5th graders about how reporters develop their stories. He focused on encouraging us to answer the 5 W’s, who, what, when, where, and why. He also spoke with us about the importance of reporting true facts.

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Below is a video clip from his visit:

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

respect

 

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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