Thursday, September 29, 2016

ELMO for Halloween

                My granddaughter loves Elmo.  So I needed to make her an Elmo costume for Halloween.  I went out and found a bright red onesie with a 4th of July theme stitched on the front. Would you believe I found it for $1.20 on the clearance rack!  It was impossible to find a plain red onesie at any local store. Everything has some sort of cute decoration.
 So I improvised.....

         I sewed a piece of red felt with a zig zag stitch onto the onesie. Then the white eyes with black pupils were stitched on. Next, the big orange nose and the smiling black mouth.

         I purchased 3 yards of red tulle to complete the costume.

       A two layered, four inch strip was cut off of the the entire 3 yard length. Now I had two pieces, 4 inches by 3 yards. This was folded in half, lengthwise, to make a 2 inch piece with four layers. I ran a basting stitch the length of the material  1/2 inch from the edge.  The thread was pulled to make the ruffle around Elmo's face. * The ruffle was then sewed in place by hand.  I had to made sure that it was not sewed too tightly or the onesie would pucker. 

     The remaining piece of material was folded in half fold to edge. This piece was about 12 inches by 3 yards. Again, a basting stitch was sewn about a half an inch from the folded edge. The thread was pulled to gather and make a large ruffle for the skirt.

    * Actually, the skirt was sewn onto the onesie first and then the face ruffle was added after so the face ruffle would overlap the skirt ruffle. 

        A child could wear this with red tights, leggings, or pants if they needed to cover their legs in case of cold weather.  You could leave off the skirt if it is intended for a boy's costume.

     This was so much fun to make. I looked a a lot of Elmo pictures on line to get inspired.

      Happy Halloween to All!

Please leave a comment if you have the time.  I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hardtack - A tasty treat on an explorer's ship

          My 5th graders were learning about early exploration of the 1440 and 1500s.  We read about the food that was eaten on these long voyages.  I found a very easy recipe online for hardtack.

Today I am linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for a Five for Friday Linky Party. 

The recipe for Hardtack is very simple!
       4- 5 cups of flour
       2 cups of water
       3 tsp. salt
Mix the three ingredients into a dough. The dough will be on the  side.  Roll out dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch.  Shape into a rectangle.  Cut into 3X3 inch squares.  I cut mine a little smaller.  Poke holes into both sides.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake for another 30 minutes.   You are done!  Let the hardtack sit out all day until it is dry.  It will be hard as a rock.  Store in an airtight container.

       Parents and students made the hardtack at home and sent it in to school.  I soaked the hardtack in milk for a few hours in class.  Everyone  had a taste test or two with butter. Yum! It tasted a bit like Saltine Crackers only much harder.  Some of the kids enjoyed the treat.  Some were not as excited and put it in the trash after a bite or two. 

     I couldn't help myself when I saw some gummy worms in the candy isle one day.  I told the kids that sometimes bugs and worms got into the food supply on the sailing ships. The sailors would soak the hardtack in water so the bugs and worms would float to the top.  The these unwelcome friends could be removed.  So I handed out the gummy worms to get the point across.   It was a big hit.

         I received an email from a parent.  She said her son had been watching a post- Civil War series on AMC.  Hardback was mentioned.  Her son was so excited that he knew about the hardback and how it tasted.  It brought history to life.
    I guess that is why we are teachers.

Thanks for reading my blog. I hope this article can help you in some little way. Please leave a comment and come back again soon.

Enjoy the rest of this glorious day.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Teaching Latitude and Longitude

       The first chapter in 5th grade Social Studies includes the lines of latitude and longitude.  I like to use hands on learning in my classroom.  Foldables and interactive lessons  are a big part of my instruction.  I found this idea a few years ago.  I can not take any credit for it.    has this foldable.  I believe that is where I found it.

The paper plate did not want to lay flat.
   Today I am linking up with Stephanie for Show and Tell Tuesday .


  Basically, we begin with a very inexpensive paper plate. I use the thinest paper plates I can find because they are the easiest for the kids to fold.  The plate is folded in half, opened up, and folded in half again.  Then I had the kids draw over the 1st fold with a red marker and the second intersecting fold with a green marker. Using separate colors helps my kids see the difference in the information.

        Next, we labeled the ends of each line  with zero degrees N, S, E, and W.  The line that runs from north to south is labeled Longitude Line and Prime Meridian. The line that runs from west to east is labeled Latitude Line and Equator.

      This basic foldable is great for 4th and 5th graders.  A more detailed design can be constructed for 5th or 6th graders. 

    By making a fold from the outer edge of the circle to the Equator or Prime Meridian will result in the 60 degrees line. 

        I have my students keep this foldable in their Social Studies dou-tang.  The plate is attached with glue to a sheet of paper.   After the glue is dry, the plate can be folded up for secure storage.

       My students really like to use foldables.  Foldables make the information easier for the kids to digest,  understand, and be able to explain to to their parents and their classmates.

       What do you use to explain Longitude and Latitude to your students?

I would enjoy reading your comments.  So leave me a message any time.

Have a great school year!


Thursday, September 1, 2016


 Kids love to help in and around the classroom.   

  Most teachers have a helper chart of some kind in their room.
 I have my kids made little people to resemble themselves.

Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and the Five for Friday Linky Party! Lots of great ideas all around. 

       The tag at the bottom is for the student's name.

Here are a few examples of this year's helpers.  After the designs are completed, I laminate the helpers and cut them out.

         I am so pleased that the children take so much time and add details to the characterization of themselves. At the beginning of the year we are just getting to know our students. By observing student artwork, the teacher can learn so much about their students. Our students wear a uniform to school, so they really enjoy wearing everyday clothes to school on special days.

        Here are some of the helper tags.  The students attach their helper person near the tag of the job they have chosen. 

    What type of Helper Chart do you have in our room?

     Please leave a comment.  I always enjoy hearing your thoughts and ideas.

Have a great  2016 - 2017 school year!