Thursday, December 21, 2017

Popsicle Stick and Felt Ornaments

   Popsicle Stick Ornaments

         In the past years I tried popsicle stick ornaments with my 5th graders. I could have used tongue depressors, but all I had on hand were popsicle sticks.  They glued the sticks together on sheets of wax paper. Each child was given five pieces of felt, red black, green, brown and white to start with. Mind you everyone asked for more felt as the creativity went into high gear.  I always cut the felt into pieces about 2 or 3 inches square.  That way they don't waste felt.  The googlily eyes always add that something special.  I showed some inspiration pictures that I found on Pinterest and the kids started designing very quickly. Students gained inspiration from their peers. Each one was unique in their own charming way.


   The facial expressions are priceless!
Isn't this the cutest little Santa?

    Some were completely covered in felt, as you can see with this snowman,  while others just had tiny felt pieces for accents.

Little pieces of thread were added so these little darlings could hang on the tree.

         Each one has the date on the back. Hopefully, the kids can look back in years to come and have fond memories of making each one when they were in 5th grade.

   I guess I'm biased, but I think they are very cute!

Today I'm linking up with 
Stephanie at Forever in Fifth for 
Show and Tell Tuesday
Merry Christmas everyone!

 Merry Christmas  and enjoy decorating your tree!


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Who is driving?


      While shopping the other day, I looked out the side window of the car.  We had just pulled into a parking space. The car next to me had a well dressed driver ready for the cold Christmas shopping season.

      The driver was was calm, not at all frazzled like so many of the shoppers this time of year. Warm and cozy in a red jacket, just watching the world and the other shoppers go by.

     More of today's shoppers could take a lesson from this driver. Taking one day at a time.

     Please have a calm, blessed Christmas. Try to remember the real meaning of Christmas.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Do you know....? Yes, I do know......!

      Did you say... STUDY?   How do I do that? 

     Studying information for a unit of study in order to prepare for a test can be overwhelming for many children.  They don't know where to start.  Some students don't know what they know or don't know.  So, I tried to come up with a fun interactive way for my kiddos to study with each other. Hopefully, some child will take this activity home to study with parents or other students.

            I have my 5th grade students write on index cards the following sentence.
"Do you know that ____________________?"  
 Then they complete the statement using information from their notes or text book. For example, "Do you know that Christopher Columbus was born in Italy but explored for the King and Queen of Spain?

      I have the kiddos write 3 to 6 statements, one on each card. They need to look through their notes and text book to find the correct  important information for the unit of study. 

      Then the fun begins!  The students form two circles or lines. I'll say, "Decide if you want to be peanut butter or jelly?" or hot dogs or hamburgers, or ice cream or apple pie. You get the picture.  The kids are very excited to make a choice and pick one.  Then I'll say, " Jelly goes first."   Now the children know who will read their statement first.  

      "Jelly" students read their statement "Do you know that ......?"   Then the "peanut butter" kids respond, "Yes, I do know that ....." and have to repeat the first statement exactly.   This keys in on their listening skills as well as recalling and repeating the information given. 

      Sometimes students write incorrect information on their cards. OOPS! This can be a learning situation too. Hopefully, the misinformation will be caught by other students and corrected on the spot.

       Now it is the "peanut butter" students turn to read their statement card to their partner with the "jelly" students responding.

       After a few minutes, I ring a bell or make some other sound to get my students' attention.  The "peanut butter" students will need to move on to the next person in line.  The process starts again.  This way the students are hearing new information from different classmates. Sometimes the information is repeated by different children.  That is okay, too. We have to hear information more than once to get it to stick in our mind.

      It is a kind of a "Speed Dating" situation, but we are reviewing information.

      I do hope you can use this study technique in your classroom. Give it a try, It can't hurt, and your kids might have fun and learn something. Let me know if it works for you.

Please leave a comment.  I'll love to hear ideas from your classroom.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Baby Candy Canes

    First Candy Canes
This one was made by my son when he was about 2 and a half years old.

           Christmas is a perfect time to get out the finger paints for you child or children.  Tag board or a file file is a perfect weight paper to work on. The file folder stays in place and does not wrinkle or bend with the movement of little fingers.

        I drew the outline of  three candy canes on a file folder. Then the  red finger paint came out!!! Oh what excitement!! The squishy feeling of paint on your fingers.  The paint is applied to the paper with such zeal! 

         After the paint was dry, I cut the candy cane shapes out.  Of course the names of the artist and the year were written on the back.

       This is my 18 month old granddaughter's candy cane for this year.

      My daughter made this candy cane below, more than 30 years ago.  She was about 8 months old at the time. It looks as good as new!  

          These precious candy canes will have a special place on my tree every year.

     Christmas tree ornament don't have to be made of finiest silver, gold, or crystal to be cherished.  

Hoping everyone has a very Merry Christmas! 


The Book Nook is set for Christmas

    Christmas in the Book Nook

      The 5th graders have decorated the Book Nook in our corner of the hallway for Christmas. Comfy chairs are a perfect place to sit, curl up,  and read a good book. Last year I was in the local grocery store.  I saw a display of candy canes in cardboard cartons. I love to find free things that I can use in school. The cartons were designed to look like a red brick fireplace.  BINGO!  A ready made fireplace for our Book Nook! I added a little glitter to the flames of the fire for a extra sparkle.

          Of course all the 5th graders made their own stocking to "hang by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there".

   Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Fence Post Santa

Santa HO, HO, HO!
      This Santa was made from a picket fence post many years ago.

      The design was drawn with pencil to section off the different colors. The the painting of the red, white, and black colors was quite easy. After the white paint dried glitter glue was applied to made the beard sparkle.  The nose was made from a large red wooden bead cut in half and glued.  To top off Santa's hat, red, white, and green pipe cleaners were braided with a bell attached. This was attached this a large headed nail.

     Santa stands faithfully by my front door each year to welcome everyone at Christmas.

      Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Felt Christmas Tree

          Christmas Tree 

      I saw a stuffed felt Christmas tree on Pinterest and was intrigued.  It looked like something I could make for my grandchildren and nephews. 
           I made a form from cardboard which is about two feet tall.  The large triangle shapes were glued together using a hot glue gun. I used tacky glue to fasten the felt to the cardboard tree. Then the tree form was filled with styro-foam packing peanuts to keep it light yet firm.  Finally, the felt bottom of the tree shape  was stitched in place to keep the tree together. 
          An old Advent calendar with little felt ornaments happened to be in my basement. These felt ornaments hung on to the felt of the tree much like a felt board.  The ornaments were the perfect size for little fingers and my tree.

           My granddaughter is 18 months old. As you can see, she spend a lot of time arranging and rearranging the ornaments on her little tree. 

               We all need those quiet moments to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas, even the very small child.

           I have linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the Five for Friday Weekly Linky Party.  Lots of great ideas for the new year and winter months. 

      Merry Christmas to all 
and to all 
a Good Night!

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


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Coffee Creamer Snowmen

Let it SNOW!
                     Today is Snowman Day!!!
 The fifth graders have been saving plastic coffee creamers since September. Our goal today was to transform the ordinary plastic bottles into something very special, individual, and  unique. 

     Using a varied collection of ribbon, buttons, google eyes, pom poms, and who knows what else, the children go to work.

     Each and every snowman is  as individual and unique as its maker.

         When the designing is complete the students fill their snowman with candy, pencils, erasers, money, and some get a toothbrush attached to the outside.

This guy looks like he lives on Sesame Street!
         These darling snowmen will be delivered to a local food pantry.  We hope they will bring joy to the children who receive them.

          I love to do this project with my students. The children begin to understand that they can do something for someone else and have a great time. 

Enjoy the Christmas season.
Merry Christmas 
to all and to all
 a good night! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Turkey Finger Puppets

Gobble, Gobble!

       Thanksgiving has come and gone, but a cute little turkey can be fun to play with any time.  

       I know this guy has a frightened or startled look on his face. You would to if you or one of your friends were on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner.

       I like to create felt finger puppets for my granddaughters, nieces, and nephews.  Having a large scrap box of felt comes in very handy when these little friends need to be made.  As you can see, the smallest scrap of felt can be used for feathers, a beak, or eyes when making a felt finger puppet.

      These little finger puppets are only about 2 1/2 inches tall.  They are appliqued and then stitched together with embroidery floss.  I don't use any glue. They are very soft and lovable. Each turkey has a little yellow beak that opens. Gobble, Gobble!


        These turkeys were a lot of fun to make. They would make a great addition to my Old MacDonald felt set. Here is the link if you would like to see the rest of the farm animals.

Here is the horse.

   If you like finger puppets, give these a try.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Felt Santa Ornament

HO, HO, HO! 

      I was browsing though Christmas ornaments in a small shop a few weeks ago and came across stuffed felt Santas.  I knew that I could make them. 

      So off I drove off to JoAnn's to pick up some red, black, and white felt.  I was out of town in Minneapolis at the time, so I didn't have all my felt scraps on hand.

     These are the little guys I came up with for my granddaughters this year. A little embroidery and a little stuffing. At about six inches tall, they are the perfect size for little hands. My Santas came together quite quickly. No sharp edges to poke a finger or loose eyes to come off. These little Santas can easily hang on the tree or can be played with and taken to bed for a nap. 

    Happy Santa Making to all and to all a Good Night! 


Thursday, November 16, 2017


Miniature Tepees

     My 5th graders have been working on a unit of study concerning Native Americans in several different locations of the United States and North America.  The Plains Indians was a favorite of the girls in my class.  Several of my girls decided to construct a miniature tepee or two while out on the playground during recess.  They were very excited to tell me all about the structure that they built.   After lunch, I took my homeroom back out on the playground to see for ourselves.

    The tepees were set up along the exterior of the fence of our play structure.  If you didn't know they were there, you would just walk on by.  

     After a few days, more miniature tepees were constructed.   The girls knew that the early American people made their homes from the resources that were available.  That is exactly what my students had done. 

    We had a tepee in our classroom.  Three students are able to sit in the tepee at one time. 

      I'll keep you posted on any new structures in our tepee village. Hopefully there will be more pictures to come.

    Great job girls! 

    Please leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Interactive Notebook- Eastern Woodland Indians

     Eastern Woodland Indians
       As we continued our unit on Native Americans, the topic of the Eastern Woodland Indians is always interesting to 5th graders.   I needed to have a way for the students to take notes to learn about the longhouse. I found the first  illustration, the interior of a longhouse and enlarged it to fit on a standard size copy paper. I can not take credit for the art work.

 This is the base page for the longhouse.

     The top sheet or outside of the longhouse was cut out and glued onto to base page.

       My students were encouraged to color their longhouse to enhance the appearance. This also makes them spend more time, thus more learning about the topic.

       We identified the fire (#1), corn drying (#2), smoke hole in the roof (#3), etc., labeled and highlighted the number on the base sheet as a class.  The on the lines below the picture we wrote "fire in the center of the longhouse".   The children were then asked to add two more pieces of information to their sheet on their own.

       The next step was to "talk to your neighbor" and share your information. Now the kids could show their neighbor what they had found and then added it to their list. Finally, we shared the information with the entire class.

       I really like to use the "" talk to your neighbor" technique with my 5th graders.  Then when I call on a student, they have some information to tell the class instead of saying, "I  don't know."  It takes the pressure off of children that aren't sure of their abilities and makes them more confident.     

     Interactive note taking has been very successful with my fifth graders.  I hope you will be able to give it a try. Please send me a note if you get the chance.  I'd love to hear how lit works in other classes.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Interactive notebook Indians of Desert Southwest

        Desert Southwest

       This post is related to a previous post concerning the Native American Indians of the Desert Southwest of the United States. Here is the link. 

     As my students learn about more Indian tribal regions, I have them work on their interactive notebook pages.  Today's topic was Indian tribes of the Desert Southwest.  The kids learned about the Hopi, Zuni, Anasazi, Taos, and the Apache tribes.  Our discussion included climate, location, food, beliefs,  clothing, and shelter. 

     We glued together the base page and the top to illustrate the outside and inside of an adobe pueblo.
Base page

Top flap

     After the page was glued together, the students added information to describe the illustrations. The students could choose to write numbers or letters on the top and/or bottom sheet. Next, under the illustrations, a numerical or alphabetical list was made to label the activities or locations pointed out in the illustrations.

Climate Regions
       Another activity concerned the climate regions. These are illustrated by the students.  This shows the climate region of the Desert Southwest.  The names of tribes are written in the space under the region. I always encourage my 5th graders to add color to their illustrations. This helps the students to spend more time looking at the information which will help them hopefully retain the information. During a test, you can look back into your "mind's eye" and see and remember  an image or color to help bring back the related information.

      My 5th grade students like to work on this type note taking in addition to traditional note taking.

I would love to read your comments on this activity.  Would you use something like this in your class?