Sunday, November 27, 2016


        My students had Art class yesterday.  Some of them worked on a project that I call SING!  

Fa la la la la la la la la!

I can take no credit for this cute project, but I had to showcase my students' darling work. Our wonderful Art teacher  gave the 5th grade kiddos the inspiration to design these.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Leave a short comment if you have a chance.  I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, November 25, 2016


       Several years ago my students made these Tommie DePaola inspired figures of Mary and Joseph. There is also a baby Jesus for the manger under the star.  These figures were done in pastels and laminated.  As you can see they have lasted for years.  The girls that worked on them are now Sophomores in high school. 

     I usually hang these Nativity figures on the wall in our 5th grade hallway.  This year I chose to  tape the Nativity scene on the windows adjoining the stairway, in the background, for all students to see as they walk around our building. I feel so very lucky to be able to discuss the real meaning of Christmas with my students each year.

    Advent is the time of year for all of us to take a step back and reflect on the real meaning of the Christmas season yet to come.  

Today I linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching. Stop by and check out all the wonderful ideas this week.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

1400's Ships

           I needed to introduce my new unit on European explorers.   Student illustrations of these sailing ships  seemed like a good idea.   I printed up a worksheet with the following instructions.
Draw and color an illustration of a sailing ship used in the 1400's when sailors crossed the ocean.

      I love how hard my 5th graders worked on their illustrations of these wonderful ships. By having the students draw their own illustration instead of just coloring a picture, they are able grasp the image of caravel, a small highly maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 1500's by the Portuguese.  This will be a great springboard in learning about such explorers as Columbus, Hudson, Cortes, Ponce deLeon, Cartier, and John Cabot.

    My kids always enjoy learning about European explorers and the stories of their lives.  I bring out all the explorer books from the school library and the classroom library.  

    Please leave a comment if you get a spare moment.  I love reading your emails.
   Today I linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the November linky.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Advent Journal

        As a part of my Religion class, I have the students put together an Advent Journal the week before Advent.  This way we are prepared, on the first day back to school after the first Sunday in Advent, to write in our journals.
        We begin with seven sheets of loose leaf paper.  One sheet is used to glue a standard size envelope.  This will be a safe place to store the Advent Journal in their Religion duo-tang each day.
In the past, I had the children store it in the pocket of their duo-tang, but they fell out easily and got lost.  This year I got smart with the envelope system.
The other six sheets of loose leaf were cut into three sections and stapled into a folded piece of paper or card stock.  Some students designed their own cover.  Others used the paper that was supplied.

The next step was to cut apart all the days of advent and glue each piece on to the correct page in the Advent Journal. Use both the front and back of each sheet in order to have enough pages.

     In the past years, Sister Carolyn, our Principal, had given these Advent Calendar sheets to use with our students. They worked very well for this Advent Journal.   On this page the children write about an act of kindness or generosity in order to get ready for the birth of Jesus.
The students write, "Dear God,  Please pray for, or watch over, or protect ..."  on each page as we discuss the people who we are praying for each day.

 Lastly, The loose leaf page is clipped into their duo-tang for safe keeping. The Advent Journal is kept in the envelope for use at the beginning of  Religion class each day during Advent. 

I hope this journal will be useful in your class or for your own children at home.  Make Advent special this year with your children.

  1. Beti

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Popsicle Stick Ornaments

          I love when my 5th grade students make things with little help from me.  I give a few ideas and they run with the project. Many times they want or think they need the approval that their work is "GOOD".  Some students have little confidence in doing or making something they have never done before.  My feeling is that "work has to evolve".  I constantly tell my kiddos that I learn something new every day, and they will too.
        Last year I saw some popsicle stick ornaments to make with kids on Pinterest. So I thought I would give it a try.  You can see my blog post, "Popsicle stick and felt ornaments".  My students enjoyed it so much last year, I tried in again yeaterday, which was our last day of school.
        So I showed my kids a few examples. Santa, a penguin, a reindeer, a North Pole sign were a few.  Out came my felt scraps, googly eyes, markers,  pipe cleaners, glue, and tacky glue. Don't forget to have a piece of waxed paper on the work surface for every student.  This will make the gluing process less frustrating.  In order to make felt adhere to the popsicle sticks you MUST use tacky glue.

    Here is a selection of my students' Christmas ornaments.





     I just LOVE all the different expressions on their little faces.  They make me want to smile.

Kids, if you can spot your popsicle stick creation, leave a comment.

Enjoy your children and this wonderful Christmas.

Here is a link to Teach Junkie


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Compare & Contrast- Continental & British Armies

        To wrap up a chapter on the American Revolution, my 5th graders worked to compare and contrast the two armies. Much reading and discussion helped the students to understand the differences between the Continental Army and the British Army.  My kiddos then picked up a piece of loose leaf and a small sheet with pictures of two soldiers.( I never pass out papers anymore. I place any papers that  my students need on a table, and my 5th graders form a one-way street to pick up their work materials. Now, no one ever says, "I didn't get that paper or worksheet!")  The paper of the soldiers was cut in half to separate the two.  Then they were glued onto the loose leaf.  

This was my demonstration piece.

     The directions were given to bullet point information specific to each army. Here are a few examples of student work. 

          As you can see, each child had a different list but with basically the same information.  They also colored the uniforms and some added backgrounds.  I was very pleased with the completed classwork. 

   How do you have your students compare and contrast?

Today I linked up with Forever in Fifth Grade  for
 Show and Tell Tuesday
Stephanie has wonderful ideas to share.

Please leave a comment.  Your ideas are very helpful. Come back again soon.

Keep calm and be happy!


Friday, November 4, 2016

Indians of the Pacific Northwest

      Native American people is a unit of study for my 5th graders.  The topic of the Indians of the Pacific Northwest Coast is quite interesting for my students.  We discussed location, climate, natural resources, transportation, and crafts.
      The construction of a cedar dugout canoe was one topic discussed.  This is the inspiration for the student work.

      For the children to get a hands on feel for the dugout, we made folded paper dugouts. To bring in the concept of Symmetry,  we discussed that both sides of the dugout canoe were the same. While the paper was flat and uncut, the students needed to plan their design and colors to be used. The back side of the paper was also colored brown to indicate the inside of the canoe was wood. finally, the dugout canoe was cut from the paper, folded on the dotted lines, and glued together on the paper tabs found on the pattern.  As you can see they were very cool.

      My students drew illustrations of their concept of a village belonging to the Chinook tribe. Each child could refer back to their book, powerpoint presentation, as well as the illustrations in the room for reference. I tell my students, "A picture is worth a thousand words".  For some children, they need a picture in their head to tell a story or remember information.  ( I was one of those kids, and am still like that today.)  This is why I have my 5th graders do so many hands on related projects.

    Have a great day!


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Interactive Notebook- Inuit Indians

     Fifth grade Social Studies includes a unit on Native Americans.  I like to have the kids working with interactive notebooks.  We start with all the information printed out for the students.  This gets them used to making and working on the pages.

    The base page has all the information.
This page will have holes punched in it.

The top sheet will need to be cut out.

The next step is to glue the outside of the igloo on the base page by matching the X's.
My students last year really like learning about the Inuit Indians by opening and closing this igloo.

More interactive pages to come on the blog.

      The last part added to this section of the student notes is the student drawn illustrations of knowledge concerning the Inuit Indians. You can see that the students are interrupting the information in their own way.

                                     STUDENT        ILLUSTRATIONS

          I encourage my students to label their illustrations.  All this added information helps the children recall on tests and later in the future.  Many of my students have joined the Quiz Bowl teams when they reached 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.  They come back to say that they remember the Social Studies questions from 5th grade.  

       Today I linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the Five for Friday Linky.
Check out all the great blogs.  

Enjoy your day!