Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Teaching about the Soviet Union!

Get this activity HERE!!
I really enjoyed teaching about the U.S.S.R. and what it looks like now.
My kids found it really interesting because of  the high school drama conflict  between U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. and the Cold War. We really got into a fun discussion that lead them to ask questions that I had no clue what the answers were (the very best kind) and we looked them up together.

We started off looking at Russia/U.S.S.R.'s timeline (you can see the slideshow on my tackk board and all my other lessons are there also by week if you want to check it out!) creating a timeline together as we went. Then we looked at the Soviet Union looked like then and now, labeling a map of what countries use to be apart of the Soviet Union.

Yes, I know it says "1898" when it should say '1989"... Totally already fixed it. 

The next day we took a closer look at Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine by creating a Fact Book. Students explored and discovered more about these places and were all all about the interesting facts (ie. there are 9 million more women than men in Russia, so if you are looking for a husband don't move there... you will have a lot of competition!)

I did Russia with them and then they completed the other 2 on their own. 

Inside the Fact Book. 


Teaching about the Soviet Union? 
Head over to my TpT store and pick up this awesome activity that is ready to go!
 Just press PRINT! :)

What the final pages look like!

Happy Teaching FRIENDS!! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Tiered Classroom

A conversation I had with one of our academic coaches several weeks ago has really stuck with me. 
I had asked her what some of the best things she has seen in classrooms this year and she told me about an elementary teacher who tiered her desks.
I had read about this idea and seen in on Pinterest so many times, I was excited to hear about a teacher in my district doing it.
This teacher surveyed her students to see how they learn best: on the floor, sitting at a desk, or standing up. She then took that information and altered her desks to meet her kiddos learning style. 

I was beyond impressed with the idea, but had so many uncertainties about how I could make it work in my classroom...
how would that look for 6th grade? 
I teach 6 classes, I can't please them all... what if one class has 3 students that want to sit on the floor and another has 12 that want to sit on the floor. 

After watching some of my kids in each class choose to work standing up at the back counter while others always move to the floor to sprawl out, I finally decided to take a chance and just ask my 160+ students how they learn best. 
Their responses were shocking. 
The overwhelming majority said they would rather sit on the floor. 
Amazingly enough, 8-10 kids from each class said they would rather stand up and only 4 or less students from each class said they like sitting at a desk. 
(Of course I had a few in each class say they could sit, stand or whatever. So thankful for their flexibility to help my numbers!) 

During my conference I dashed home to get my hubby's drill, a few screwdrivers and back to school I came to get to work. I enlisted the help of a couple of men on my campus to help me right away (you could say I am a little bit crazy eager) and then finished up the desks after school when I bossed asked my hubby to come help. 

What we did was remove the legs off most the desks so it would make the perfect lap desk, while raising the legs of 8 other desks to make it the idea standing height.  I left 2 desks and a table normal height so 4 people could sit down. 

 I am in LOVE with how it turned out. 

 I have a row of 8 desks standing up in the back. 
(that pink rug is where backpacks will be dropped off. The white tape outlines it so no one can cross into backpack territory!)

I had some desks already lowered on the ground for our collaboration today and the kids LOVED it. Many of the ones who said they would rather sit or stand changed their minds to sitting on the floor. 

I am very anxious and excited to see how it work tomorrow with my kiddos...
 I really think it will be a great success since it is how THEY LEARN BEST.
... but I still have my chairs stacked up... just in case. ;)

Moral of this blog: Don't be afraid to try something that seems elementary just because you are teaching older students. Best practice is just best practice. No matter the age. 

I encourage you all to try the same!
Adjusting your classroom to meet your kiddo's learning styles could be as simple as removing some desk legs or raising them up higher.




The students LOVED it. I even allowed them to choose their own seats, and we had zero issues... which is shocking since this was the day before we got for our Thanksgiving break!! 

As you can see from the pictures, the standing desks are still too low for my big 6th graders, so over Thanksgiving break I added some bed risers that I got from target for only 5 bucks!! They are now the perfect height...

Monday, November 16, 2015


This year for Thanksgiving, I am having my students create their own
 "Thanksgiving Around the World Research Book"
Everything else we have done this year has been so heavily research, and "self exploring" based, why stop now just because it is the holidays?? 

In this book students will research different ways Thanksgiving is celebrated around the world. 

I created a slide for the kids to help guide them in what they need to research. 

Students will be able to record what they have learned about the celebration in any way they would like!! 
Want to do this project also?? 

Happy Teaching FRIENDS!!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Culture Activities GALORE!!

One reason I LOVE my new teaching position as a 6th grade World Cultures teacher is because I get to explore the world with my students. It is naturally engaging and the students and I both really get into it! 

SO, since we are constantly traveling to new locations and studying their culture, I figured I would create several culture interactive notebook templates that could be ready for the students to use to record their research. 

While these activities were designed with my World Cultures class in mind, I got to thinking about how versatile these activities really are! 

When I was teaching 3rd grade ELA, these would of been PERFECT for my higher small groups to use as mini research projects. They could be used for GT/early finishers to work on when they complete their work. You could use one template to direct teach the culture of one region on a continent and allow the students to use a different template to research a different region on that continent. So many reading standards are used during these activities, from researching, reading about it, summarizing information, cause and effect of migration on the culture of a region, comparing and contrasting two regions... the list goes on!!

These activities are truly made for student self discovery. 
Just hand them a template, and let them discover about the world for themselves. 

The possibilities are endless, just like our student's curiosity about the way people live. 

Get this activity HERE!!
The first thing I created was a reference sheet for students who are doing a "self discovery" research project. This includes the terms they will be seeing on the different templates along with the definitions, guiding questions and real world examples. 

Use this template over and over again! Just write down the new location on the line!
Students can record their research on the back of the "sticks". 

Get these activities HERE!!
Next I added a few different types of recording foldables that students can use in their interactive notebooks or on a piece of construction paper and turn it into a mini project! 

The "Learning Diamond" is always a big hit with the kiddos! 

Get these activities HERE!!
I love this learning diamond that folds out to reveal the different cultural traits! Perfect for the kids to illustrate or record their discoveries of the new place they are at.

Students can create mini books of culture over different regions of the world to record their research in.
They can also keep a interesting facts list! 

Get these HERE!!
I am addicted to creating these little books in my classroom. They are so perfect for what I am teaching, since it is so heavily based on research!! 

I also created 4 Venn diagrams so students can compare and contrast two different regions. It is always fun to see just how different 2 cultures can be! The students are always shocked that not everyone is living like us!!


A "My Culture Traits" activity for students just learning the culture traits and how they relate to their own life. 

AND one of my top sellers, the Cultural Traits and Terms activities to use to first teach the vocabulary. This set also includes posters! 

Get this amazing bundle HERE while it is on SALE!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I am expected to hang up what??

If your district is like mine, you are probably expected to have certain things displayed in your classroom like your objects, I Can or We will statements, ELPS and a ticket out the door or closing question. 

On one board I display each days focus with the students objectives. In the middle I have their "I Can" statements (which are basically their TEKS written in a language they can understand). On the other side I have my ELPS objective and my "Closing Thought" which is just like "Ticket Out the Door" but what I felt was more open ended and can just be a question they answer verbally, an opinion they share with a neighbor or something they physically turn in. 

I truly like having this information on the board. I am constantly go back to it and referring to it during my lessons, explaining why it is important for the students to learn whatever it is we are discussing that day. 

P.S. - If you don't have that ELPS flipbook, you need to get it ASAP! 

Happy Teaching Friends!!

6th Grade World Cultures Vocabulary Cards

These vocabulary cards are perfect if you are teaching world cultures, geography, government or social studies of any upper level content! 

They aren't too big and are broken up by TEKS Resource 6th Grade Contemporary World Cultures units. 

Check out these vocab cards HERE! 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

LANDFORMS and TYPES OF GOVERNMENT interactive notebook activity

The first week is over and we are about to begin our second... 
and I must say, I LOVE 6th GRADE!!

I am just so glad that I made the move over. The older kids seems to be my perfect niche. :) 

We have already begun our interactive notebooks, and have completed the first activity, 
the Five Themes of Geography.

You can read about this activity HERE!
I am trying to stay way ahead of the class with creating these interactive activities and this weekend I whipped out TWO more!!

The first one is landforms. 

I am really excited about this one. It takes two pieces of long construction paper and the activity which can be bought in my TpT store HERE!

I love how it can fold up to fit into the interactive notebook and then unfolds to reveal all the different types of landforms. 


Open up the flaps to reveal the landforms defintion and a picture. 

This interactive notebook set also includes posters in color that match the pictures that go in their notebooks. 

I ALSO created my types of government activity for the notebook.


This includes two flipbooks for unlimited and limited types of government for the kids to write the meanings and research examples. 

It, OF COURSE, also has a mini poster set with each type of government and the definition to use as a teaching tool. :) 

Keep an eye out for my next interactive activity!! 


Thursday, August 20, 2015

THE WORLD interactive notebook activity!

Get this activity HERE!


This interactive notebook activity gave me some heartache trying to figure out the exact sizes the continents need to be, the best order to glue everything down, what kind of glue to use.... it has been a mess. 
BUT! I finally figured it out to make a 3 day or 3 part 
interactive notebook activity of the world and different features!

the continents, the prime meridian, equator, tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, and circles of Antarctica and Arctic.  

making a key, a compass rose, longitude and latitude, and hemispheres.

a flip book of definitions the students create to go along with their world inside their interactive notebook. 

Supplies you will need:
Each student gets 1 piece of blue construction paper

They will also need a copy of the continents, key and flip book found HERE!

You will also need 6 (SIX) different colors of yarn or curling ribbon.
(I found that the ribbon works much better than the yarn because it is thick and can be glued down easier)

Each student will also need map pencils, scissors and glue.

For me, this will be a 3-4 day activity. I only have 45 minutes with each class so I need to break it up, but it can be done in one day, with drying time allowed. 

I will be teaching each section in some format before it is done in their interactive notebooks. I will introduce and explain each map term using prezi, brainpop, flipcharts or videos, then the students will fill in their flip book and world accordingly.


they cut out their flip book.

I tell them it is creates a "hula skirt".

They apply glue behind where it says "parts of a map" so that the hula skirt strips can still be lifted up.

give each student a piece of blue construction paper.

They should fold this in half, longitude way
 (hamburger, not hot dog)

Then using the scissors they need to round off the corners so that you get this:

The edges should be nice and rounded.

Have students fold this back up in half twice.
When opened it should make a + going longitude and latitude in the middle.

After teaching to the students what longitude and latitude is, and the main named lines on the globe 
(equator, prime meridian, tropic of Cancer, tropic of Capricorn, Antarctic circle, and Arctic circle)
Students will fill out the definitions of the first 8 flaps in their flap book independently, with partners, or as a whole class.

You can fill out all the definitions at once, but I am breaking it up with the world map and doing just the first longitude and latitude map lines.

you will pass out 6 different colors of curling ribbon or yarn.
I will precut mine but the kids can cut them themselves. (I am on a time crunch and every minute is needed!)
The students will glue down the ribbons/yarn to make the longitude and latitude lines they just learned about.

I did the longitude and latitude lines first since they are dead center. 

Followed by the tropics lines about 3 thumb widths away from the equator line.

Then lastly the arctic circle lines about 2 thumb widths down from the top and bottom. 

This will end my day one, but if you are self contained or have longer than 45 minutes,  you can set this aside and move onto the next part. 

why am I not starting with the continents first? 
These longitude and latitude lines create a grid for us to use to guide us where exactly to glue down the continents in the next part. For example, the Tropic of Capricorn cuts Australia in half and the top of Africa is above the Tropic of Cancer. 
This is an example of the activity when I put the continents down first, then the longitude and latitude lines. The lines in my activity don't fall where they are suppose to. It is easier and more accurate to do the longitude and latitude lines first. 


After teaching the students about what continents and the oceans are, have them fill out the definitions in their flip book.

Give each student a copy of the continents and labels page found HERE!

Have students use the map pencils to color each continent and the label, matching them correctly. 

cut out all the parts. 
Using the longitude and latitude lines we glued down earlier, students will glue the continents down where they are suppose to go.  Also glue down the ocean labels. This can be guided or independent. I am going to have my students use an atlas to determine where each continent is suppose to be glued down at. 


After it is dry, students fold it in half, and glue the back of one side down into their interactive notebook. 
The key and compass rose is glued down on the other folded side.
**I wait until this part to glue it down and not at the beginning just in case a student makes a mistake and needs to start over they can without tearing the page out**


After teaching about what a map key, the world hemispheres and compass rose are, have students fill out the last 3 definitions in their flip book.

give students the final page with the hemispheres, map key and compass rose.

Pass out strips of the color ribbons for them to create their key.
They shade in the 4 examples of the hemispheres and glue down the compass rose in the corner. 


You have an AMAZING world map along with the definitions of all the map parts!!

Here it is with the map closed. 

What it looks like with the map opened. 


get your curling ribbon at AMAZON!