Friday, October 20, 2017

Interactive Student Interest Board

        Our 5th graders switch classes.  I teach Religion and Social Studies. My partners, Suzanne and Kathy, teach the Math and Science classes and the Language  Arts ( Vocab, Grammar, and Reading classes) respectively. The students, 30 in each homeroom, line up at the end of each class to move to another room every 45 minutes. This area gives the kiddos something to do when they are standing in line.
        I have an interactive board for the students to work on cooperatively during their free time.  I remind them that working cooperatively does not mean you tell your friends the answers. That will not help your friends. Cooperatively means to help others understand how to solve the problem.

          This is my board that is located to the right of the door leading out into the hall.  The blue background paper is laminated.  I have found it lasts the entire year.  The papers are attached with sticky tack so items can be changed quickly by myself or a student. The kids like to go to the drawer and pick the next game or activity to be placed on the board.

     I change the Boggle game sheet weekly.  This keeps the kids practicing their spelling. Sometimes I give a "prize" to the students who has found the most words.

             Jumble For Kids was in the newspaper years ago.  The date on this one is 2004. You can tell that I have been teaching for a while.  The words are usually easy, but answer at the bottom has an interesting twist.  It has to do with the clue in the picture.  This can be  a pun or a play on words. 

        Hocus Pocus  also was featured in newspapers.  The directions are to "Find at least six differences in details between panels."  This is great for examining details and going back and check again.  Many kids want to be finished and do assignments very quickly.  This gives a chance to practice the skill of carefully looking for details.

           SUDOKU is a favorite for some children while others dislike it.  My students teach each other how to play Sudoku every year.  Sudoku is a great thinking game for all ages.


              The CROSSWORD PUZZLE  is also popular with some students. Students often work together on the crossword puzzle.  Collaborative work is so important for children. They learn how to learn from each other and teach each other. They also learn that everyone has different strengths.

      I have a variety of different activities because my students have a variety of interests, skills, and skill levels. Teach each child.

 Enjoy teaching your students every day.  
Make it the best year ever!

Please feel free to leave a comment.  I enjoy reading your thoughts and suggestions.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Desert Southwest Pueblo

         While working on the unit on Native Americans, I always have my students build their own pueblo in class.  This is a cooperative project for my students. The native people had to work together in order to survive in the hot dry desert region.  So we work together to construct ours. 

      The students decide if they want to make a ladder, a room, or a kiva.  All the parts are made at home and then brought to school. You can see the variety of student work. I try to emphasize that this  is a student, not a parent, project.

This is what it looks like when all the pieces are brought to school.

These little ladders are so cute.


    The pieces are  hot glued to the base and background. We try to alternate the size, shape and orientation of the boxes to achieve a more realistic appearance.

 This is a picture taken at Casa Grande located south of Phoenix, Arizona. It is an amazing Southwestern Native American ruin.  A canopy was built over the structure to protect it from the elements of nature that were eroding the walls. You can see on the left side of the picture, a pole to reinforce the side wall. So if you have the chance to visit the amazing state of Arizona, try to take a side trip to experience the magnificence of Casa Grande.

We are trying to represent the different levels of the pueblo.

 Ladders were added after all the boxes were glued together.  Pebbles were also glued on to add detail.

 Then my students attached very small people to the pueblo.

       You can even see some dried grass "plants" growing on the top.

     My 5th graders were very proud of the pueblo diorama they had built cooperatively in school.

       Three classes worked together, during their own class period.  They realized that no one person in a desert southwest Indian tribe could have constructed the massive structure by themselves. 

    I know I could have assigned this as a at home project.  The children would have brought in magnificent, elaborate projects, many of which were made by well meaning parents.  I like to have my kids realize that they, 5th graders,  can do wonderful things by themselves. 

    I hope this project gives  other teachers an incentive to try a pueblo project.

 Check all the ideas at 4th Grade Frolics link up-
              Monday Made It. 

Please leave a comment or suggestion if you have the time.  I really enjoy hearing from other teachers.

Enjoy your day! 


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Who am I? Explorers Flip Chart

  Flip Charts!

       If you know me, I LOVE to make  flip charts with my 5th graders!
As a study guide for the chapter on early exploration, we made this flip chart.
On each outer flap the students wrote "Who Am I?"  Then they wrote several 
"I  statements" to give clues to the explorer's name.  You can see that my kiddos use their notes to make sure their information is correct.

         This sample is the basic layout of the explorers' flip chart. I try to explain to the students that each statement must be specific to each person.

           The pictures of the explorers are from a set of reading comprehension sheets we used to study Christopher Columbus, Ponce deLeon, John Cabot, Hernando Cortes, Jacques Cartier, and Henry Hudson.  The pictures can be colored. By coloring the illustrations the students spent more time on each explorer and hopefully learn more in the process.

       After the flip charts are completed, the students "share or trade"  their flip chart with another student in class. Each student reads the  "Who am I?" questions and tells who the explorer is.  This can  also be used as a whole class activity where each student comes to the from of the room to place their flip chart under the projector for everyone to view at the same time. Students can then raise their hand if they know the correct answer. Some students like to try and stump their peers with difficult questions. 

        Today I linked up with Forever in Fifth Grade for the October Show and Tell Tuesday.  Check out what she has in store for Halloween this year! 

       Please send me a comment if you use flip charts or these are of any help for your students.

       Enjoy the beautiful Fall weather with your family today! 


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Day of the Dead

         Silly Skeletons for 
Day of the Dead

    Each year my 5th graders have a 
Dia de los Muertos 
Day of the Dead celebration 
as close to Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 as possible.  The students pick a person whose life they would like to celebrate.  The families talk about the aspect of their life and what the person looked like.  I have the students complete a research sheet to have all the details in one place.  
        We make little paper stand up skeletons for each person's life that we celebrate.   The instructions were to give the person a silly hat to wear and something that they liked, such as a favorite food or candy, in their hand. You can see that the students had talked to their parents and knew about each person.
This person must have loved ice cream.
I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the 
Five for Friday Linky Party -

Papa had a little dog as a friend.

Great Grandpa liked to play BINGO.

Grandma had a pet dog.

     The students bring in a shoe box to make a small altar for the celebration.
A picture, candle, flower, and decorations are placed on a small piece of cloth used as an altar cloth. 
     Each child has a turn to speak about their person.  I encourage them to tell a funny story about this person.  This takes their minds off the fact that the person has passed on before us.

     This year I worked with the Art teacher to have the students make skeleton masks or sugar skulls. In Mexico and Mexican neighborhoods in the United States, small and large skulls are made out of sugar for the Dia de los Muertos celebration.  It was a great lesson in symmetry.  Here are some examples of their sugar skulls. The students used construction paper, crayons, and markers.

Please leave a message or comment if you get a chance.
Enjoy the beautiful day!

I have linked up with Teaching blog Addict for Freebie Friday.
Check out all the great ideas this week. 

Happy Halloween to all!


Sunday, October 8, 2017

North Pole Finger Puppets

Finger Puppets

       My latest finger puppet collection centers around the Arctic regions of our world.  These are made of small pieces of felt stitched with embroidery floss.

            A cute white seal pup and polar bear are found in the cold arctic.  The seal pup has a worried look on his face sitting next to the polar bear, though I don't think the bear will bother him. He is very friendly.

        I added a snowman just for some added fun.  We know how Frosty likes to dance and play in the snowy and cold weather. 

       Lastly, a penguin was added to the group of felt friends.  I know penguins don't live at the North Pole,  but this one begged me to include him with the other cold weather friends. So, please explain to your little ones that penguins live at the South Pole.

       I find these finger puppets great for dramatic play or a quiet time activity for preschoolers.  They can be taken in the car or on an airplane trip to keep a child occupied for a period of time.  Hide and seek is easily adapted with finger puppets in the confined space of a car seat. The child can close their eyes and the parent could hide one or all of the finger puppets to find.


        The little boxes are made from Altoid tins. I stitched a small piece of North Pole flannel fabric, that I found at JoAnns, to a piece of felt.  The felt was then glued to the top of the tin  with tacky glue. All four little chilly friends fit perfectly into the tin for safe keeping.

       I made two sets, one for each of my granddaughters. They are slightly different so there is no confusion when clean up time comes around.  

       You can view other finger puppets ( Halloween collection, Baby Sharks, 
Moose finger puppets,  and Animal Bed Tins) in previous posts if you are interested. 

       Enjoy the wonderful day! 


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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!