Umberto D'Amico shows off his cabbage

Colossal cabbage plants

Sandshore students grew colossal cabbage plants over the summer, some as large as four feet across. The opportunity to develop their green thumbs was provided by the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program, a nationwide initiative for third-graders sponsored by plant wholesaler Bonnie Plants. The program inspires a love of vegetable gardening and healthy eating. It also provides valuable life lessons about the importance of planning and responsibility. 

In May, Sandshore third-graders each received a free cabbage plant about four inches tall from Bonnie Plants. Armed with growing instructions and encouragement to track the growth of the plants every day, the students went home and planted the seedlings in gardens or large pots. While Bonnie Plants supplies a variety of cabbages known for fortitude, tender loving care was still required. The plants had to receive the optimal amount of water, be kept free of insects, and be protected from hungry deer and other wildlife. The cabbage was harvested about two and ½ months after planting.

This is the 11th year in which Sandshore has participated in the program. Students who entered cabbage photos online are now in the running for a $1,000 scholarship which is awarded to a participating New Jersey student.

Jomana Elmilligy grew her cabbage in a pot


Etelka Moliner and Makenzie Lessing show off their learning profiles which show their favorite ways to learn

How do YOU learn?

New teachers, new classmates, new rules, new expectations.

Students spend the first few weeks of a school year adjusting to the “new.” Finding your groove takes a little time, just as it does with adults in the first weeks of a new job.

To help kids learn about each other and teachers learn about them, fifth grade co-teachers Tricia Mitchell and Donna Rocco engaged their students with several activities, including one that required deep self-reflection. The fifth-graders were asked to complete learning profiles. Students listed how they learn best and each ranked eight learning methods (e.g., reading, teacher demonstrations, videos, etc.) in a column from most effective to least effective.  

In another column, kids ranked how they prefer to work with information. (Working alone, working with a partner, and working in a group were some of the choices.) 

In a third column, students listed the methods they prefer to show what they’ve learned, such as by writing, creating a poster, making a video, and by assembling a Google Slides presentation.

Armed with this information, the students spent time getting to know classmates with similar learning profiles who they might work well with on future collaborativetasks.

“This could be the first time that students really considered their strengths and preferences as learners, which will help them as they make choices that guide their learning,” said Mrs. Mitchell. “It also reinforcedthat we are all different, not only as people, but also as learners.” 

To further acquaint students with one another, the fifth-graders also created and shared personal Flip Grid videos and played Two Truths and a Tale, a game in which players each make three personal statements and the rest of the group is tasked with guessing which one is false. In addition, as part of a new social emotional learning curriculum, students randomly select weekly partners to sit and talk with during snack time.

Sandshore Elementary School

Sandshore Elementary School
498 Sandshore Rd
Budd Lake, NJ 07828
973-691-4003

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Mountain View Elementary School

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Flanders, NJ 07836
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Chester M. Stephens Elementary School

Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
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Budd Lake, NJ 07828
973-691-4002

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Mt. Olive Middle School

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973-691-4006

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973-927-2208

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