Happy Mother’s Day!!!

It is no surprise that Mother’s Day closes out Teacher Appreciation week!

Today we celebrate all of the hardworking mother teachers. Too often teachers are like mothers to their students coupled with raising their own family once they get home. They miss their own children’s mothers day events, parent teacher conferences and plays just to be at work with their students.

“Here’s to strong women – may we know themMay we be themMay we raise them.”

Happy Mothers Day

 

History Class Can Be Fun!

Here are ten ways to make your history class more engaging and more interactive!

Pop-Up Cards:   Have students create historical greeting cards.  Great for Valentine’s Day!   Pop – Up Cards

Mannequin Challenge:  Need some peace on a Friday afternoon?  Try a Mannequin Challenge. m The Mannequin Challenge – for the Classroom

Flipgrid Discussion:  Have students make a quick video to answer a prompt or give an opinion with this free tool.  ”Back to School with Flipgrid

Play – Doh Pictograms:  Great for a lesson on ancient civilizations.   Play-Doh is Power

Speed Networking:   Modern day networking with historical figures.   Speed Networking in the Classroom

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Play-Doh is Power

Working with teenagers on Friday afternoons can be difficult but I decided to spice things up this week with my lesson on the early river valley civilizations. My students jumped out of their chairs and cheered when I told them they would each receive their own “Play-Doh ” – no longer just for toddlers!  I had them create their own names and pictograms in cuneiform.

Thank you to the Penn Museum for inspiring this activity!  First I had my students go to their website: https://www.penn.museum/games/cuneiform.shtml    They were asked to write their own names down in their notebooks in cuneiform as shared by the website.
Then I gave each student an individual Play-Doh (see below) and a popstick (since reed stylus pens were not available like they were in Sumer 🙂 ).
I found an entire 33 pack of Play-Doh at my local Amazing Savings for $8.99 but you can also find them at Walmart here: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Play-Doh-Ultimate-Rainbow-Pack/24537163
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Students carved their names in cuneiform into the Play-Doh.   They were smitten!
To extend the activity I asked them to make their own pictograms in the playdough and have other students guess what the words meant (in groups of four students). We then discussed the origins of writing and what the advantages were for a civilization to use writing vs pictograms.  A great discussion on emojis emerged and how difficult it could be to use a pictogram to communicate via text message!
They walked out the classroom high fiving me and smiling.  Job well done for the week.  I plan to have my students do an abridged version next week with hieroglyphics! Play-Doh can be powerful in the classroom. Have you tried out this activity?
Here are some of the fun Play-Doh creations!
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Pop – Up Cards – Easily create memorable Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Cards for your classroom

SIGN ME UP!

I know I’m a little behind with this post re: Valentine’s Day BUT… I had to share this amazing activity I enjoyed with my students a few weeks ago. We made historical pop up Valentine’s Day Cards for the classroom!

I taught my students a basic way to make a pop up card – Start with a simple card or piece of paper and fold it in half. Then cut parallel lines (in pairs of the same length) into the middle fold as shown in the picture. The cuts should be no more then half the length of the card. Push the flaps forward until your card looks the same as the top half.

Continue reading “Pop – Up Cards – Easily create memorable Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Cards for your classroom”

SUCCESSFUL SNOW DAY SUGGESTIONS!

It’s a snowy day here in NY and the schools are closed wooohooo! Looking for something fun to do? Here are five fun ideas to try on this blistering day…

  1. Try a read aloud of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The snow is falling and this book will keep your little ones entertained as they check out this animated tale. http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/read-aloud/the-snowy-day/’ Prefer a hard copy for the next snow day? Grab one here!
  2. Use this snow day calculator to predict if you will be off any more days this school year: https://www.snowdaycalculator.com/calculator.php (I’m guessing NO! If you are in NYC 🙂 )
  3. Make snow angels inside or outside to Music for Aardvarks & Other Mammals – Blanket of Snow song. Watch the snow come tumbling down outside your window and sing along to this cute tune. Here’s a rendition by a local artist Jams with Janet if you don’t have spotify: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQoCx8WUCBAWant the whole album? (I’m obsessed!) Get it here!
  4. Check out a local museum or childrens coffee spot. Those tend to be open on Snow Days to keep your kids entertained! I like the American Museum of Natural History

    www.amnh.org/ or The Childrens Museum of Manhattan/ Brooklyn/ Staten Island (for you NYers) http://cmom.org/.

     

  5. Go sledding!!! Grab a tray or a sled and head out to the closest hill and enjoy the fluffy white snow. Let us know what you are up to this perfect snow day! I’m about to warm up some hot cocoa, make some pancakes and play some board games!

Wingding – Dong!

I LOVE the Wingdings font! It is such fun and you probably already own it!  It comes free with Microsoft Office, so give it a try!  Select Wingdings in the font box when you are in Word or PowerPoint and starting typing to see all the cool possibilities.

Check out the video below from the PowerPoint gurus over at Nuts and Bolts Speed Training to see how easy it is to create icons for all your presentations and handouts!

Continue reading “Wingding – Dong!”

Color the Past

I’m inspired by the transformation of black-and-white photos into color recently by Photo colorization specialists at Dynamichrome  featured by Buzzfeed. So inspired that I’ve decided to have my students color the past (literally).

The Dynamichrome folks colored portraits of the “12 million men, women, and children who arrived at Ellis Island, New York, between 1892 and 1954 to start a new life in the USA, often dressed in their finest clothes. The portraits show immigrants wearing the national dress of their country of origin, including military uniforms from Albania, bonnets from the Netherlands, and clothing of Sámi people from the Arctic regions. The photographs were taken between 1906 and 1914 by amateur photographer Augustus Francis Sherman, the chief registry clerk at Ellis Island, then the country’s busiest immigration station. In 1907 some of the photos were published by National Geographic.”

Have your students paint monochrome photographs from the past into color.  As Paul Simon shared

“When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It’s a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn’t hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

[…]

Everything looks worse in black and white
Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day”

Check it out:

ellis island.png

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Use an avatar in the classroom and for Parent Teacher Conferences!

Ever since the movie Avatar came out I have loved weaving speaking characters into my classroom. Not only is it fun to watch for students (and parents) of all ages, but students get a kick out of seeing the characters on the screen. You can create your character and add a voice to it so it can speak. You can change the backgrounds as well. Here are four ways I use avatars in my classroom:

  1. Have students make historical avatars. They can  type text to each other on the computer that would be appropriate for the historical period.
  2. Make an avatar of yourself (the teacher). Leave it up on the classroom smartboard. Hit a button that has pre-programmed sayings for when you see students are off task during groupwork.
  3. Use avatars during parent teacher conferences. Have it up on the smart board or in the waiting room for parents once they arrive.
  4. Use avatars during college conferences. I have created an avatar to emulate a student so I could walk through the college admissions process for a parents evening.

Continue reading “Use an avatar in the classroom and for Parent Teacher Conferences!”

The Great Pumpkin Challenge

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One more day until October! The month of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, Apple Picking and my favorite THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHALLENGE! My students know how much I love food challenges (see my posts on The Great Cookie Challenge!The GREAT “HOLIDAY” Baking Challenge! and I’ll share my Food Network Challenge with you in a couple of weeks). So OF COURSE I always do a GREAT PUMPKIN CHALLENGE!

If you have a google classroom make sure to get our great october headers!
See them here:
Halloween Background
October Themed Headers

The lesson rules are simple:

I like to do this in groups of 2-3 students. Each group should Bring in a pumpkin OR a pumpkin dessert (that no one in the class will be allergic to – baked at home). So… a regular ole pumpkin to decorate, a pumpkin spice cupcake, pumpkin bar, pumpkin gingerbread cookie, pumpkin donut, pumplin pie whatever floats your boat. In class – studnents will be decorating it with a historical event from THIS SEMESTER. You can have it be holiday specific, (Martin Luther King Day, Columbus Day, Christmas, Chanukah) or a historical event. The class judges each creation and at the end of course they eat the pumpkin or pumpkin food. Let me know how your great pumpkin challenge goes!