Sunday, September 29, 2013

Teaching Tolerance Free Historical Videos

I feel that as teachers it is so important for us to teach our students the importance of showing empathy and tolerance of others. I wanted to share a great resource I came across a few years ago. The following website has free video kits for teachers on the following topics: The Civil Rights Movement, The Children's March, bullying, and the Holocaust (This video seems to be in high demand. I was fortunately able to order a few weeks ago and now it isn't listed on the form).

The discs are relevant and grade level appropriate (some are geared more for upper elementary). I like how the videos consist of actual footage from the historical events and interviews of those who were involved. The video's allow for great discussions amongst students. I will post discussion threads on our classroom blog (I use kidblog and love it as do my students) for my students to use as a basis to discuss the topics at hand.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Native American Museum Research Project

Last year while I was perusing through the wonderful teaching blogs, I came across Teaching in Room 6's blog. She has SO many great ideas and resources for 5th grade. I was in need of an engaging Native American activity and she had one! I bought her Native American Tribe Research Report Project at her TPT store.

Last year and this year, my students seemed to be a little overwhelmed when given the research report project packet. However, this year my students have it a little easier because I put together a Power Point with photos and video footage of  last year's student projects and the Native American Museum. So they have a better idea of what the final product looks like.

I must say that both last year and this year the kids were BEYOND excited to participate in this project. I like how the packet includes a calendar. I use the calendar to break up the project for my students. We set different due dates for the different components. I give my students one month to complete the project.

The packet also lists the different Native American Tribes within the different regions. There are more than enough tribe listed and I don't allow students to research the same tribe. This ensures that everyone will be engaged and learn about many different tribes during our Native American Museum. They all get to choose their top 3 tribes. I haven't had to many issues with students not getting any of their top 3 choices. But we do have a discussion beforehand about the possibility that they may not get any of their choices.

The packet includes extra credit options, such as, dressing up the day of the museum, making crafts in relation to their tribe, making dolls, etc. The majority of my students did make the extra credit activities.

My 5th graders never cease to amaze me! Yesterday, we had our Native American Museum and it was a BIG success! They have been so excited all week to debut their exhibits. The students have worked hard for the past month researching, building a home, and making crafts, etc. for their project. I was overjoyed by how many parents and family members came to our museum to celebrate the wealth of knowledge my students gained! We also invited the administrators, 4th, and 5th grade classes to come and learn about all the different Native American Tribes across the U.S. It was great to see the parents not only heading over to their son or daughter's exhibit, but they made sure to visit every exhibit which made my students so happy! The 4th graders were adorable! They asked some great questions and commented on how "amazing" the projects were.

The project was completed at home and I told my students that they didn't need to spend a lot of money to create their projects. I told them to think outside of the box and be creative.  I know that some of the students received help from their parents and back in my earlier years of teaching that would've bothered me. However, I now feel that having their parents help them is a great bonding experience for them. They both learn about the tribe together and if they child isn't used to working on projects like this, they need someone to model and show them how to do things. Last year, I had a parent tell me how much she enjoyed working on the project with her son and how nice it was to spend quality time with him albeit learning something new. It put a huge smile on my face!

If you have any social studies ideas make sure you link them up with Fifth in The Middles Social Studies Linky. It is great to see all the social studies projects being linked up!

Now for some photos of this year and last years projects (I apologize for the amount of photos! It was just so hard to pick a few). I smudged out any names and faces to protect people's identities.

This student used an old shirt to make her teepee.
 I love the doll she created!
Another great home!
 This year I had quite a few students dress up!
 She put so much time into her project. I love her headdress and her crafts/dolls!
This student brought in her tablet in which she had images on a slideshow?!?! Amazing...right?!?!
 Another headdress and a bow 
 Love the totem pole in the front of this home.
 This home looked exactly like the photo she brought in!
 Again, very need to spend a ton of money.
 Super cute
 A doll made out of play dough!
 This teepee was made out of canvas and even had a canvas door cover!
 This house was made from an old basket!
 Another great example of a Native American home
 I like how this student made a scene and had two homes

 I loved how all the headdresses were so different!
 So much detail!
 Another student dressed in her attire.
 He did such a wonderful job with discussing his tribe! Made me one PROUD teacher!
 Love the colors! 
 Getting creative with the letters.
 Lots of information and photos...even a replica purse
 Such great drawings!
We decorated the hallways with totem poles they created.
 A poster one of my students made.

Last Years Projects

Love how she backed her information with construction paper.
 He made so many craft items!
 Very creative and it looks EXACTLY like the photograph.
 Full house!
 These 3rd graders were so intrigued!
 She made the headdress and her display board is beautiful!
 She made mortar and pestle out of construction paper! Love it! 
 Another scene (definitely adds to the project)
 Lots of pop with the colors
 She made her teepee out of a paper towel and twigs. It looked great!
 It was a full house!
 She even constructed a basket out of the same material used for the home!!!
 A couple of long houses

I know this was a long post! I'm just a proud teacher, what can I say!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Five for Friday: Pinching Myself to Make Sure I'm not Dreaming!

So I still can't seem to find the time to blog during the week now that school has started back up! My students are in the midst of some nifty projects, so I will be posting those activities soon...hopefully!

Alright, I haven't linked up with Doodlebug's Five for Friday in a LONG time.  So here it goes:

I Must be Dreaming!

My group of 5th graders this year are AMAZING! I seriously keep thinking I am in the twilight zone. I have ZERO, yes, ZERO behavior issues within the walls of my classroom. These kids love to work, in fact they go above and beyond what is assigned and some even seek out extra homework and turn that in on top of what was assigned.

Yesterday, I saw a group of my kiddos heading out to recess with their notebooks and such. I was curious as to what they were doing. When I asked, they told me that one of my boys is aspiring to become a director. So he gathered a group of kids to help him write a script and that day they told me they were working on character development. Seriously?!?! Super cute! Today another one of my boys told me he was creating a storyboard for a video game. Aren't they the BEST!

It looks like I may have to move up to 6th with them or just keep them in 5th grade forever!

Who Won Not One, But Two Attendance Awards???
Yup, you guessed it, today my 5th graders won the attendance award for the 5th grade level and a 2nd attendance award school wide (K-6th). I'm proud of them for being here every day and on time! I've got a cute group photo, but I'm not one to post photos of them on the net. So this one will have to do.

Ireland for New Years? Yes Please!

My wanderlust just can't be stopped! I have such a desire to explore this world we live in and I'm not content just sitting in one place for too long. So, every vacation we get, I purchase a ticket to some far off place. My poor husband and family think I'm nuts! I've been known to get back from a trip and book a flight that same day for my next vacation.

My husband doesn't like to travel much, so I often head out with friends. However, our 5 year anniversary is coming up in October and I told him we need to celebrate overseas. He agreed and chose Ireland (which is fine with me...I will go anywhere), and I booked the tickets!  I can't wait to explore the Emerald Isle.

Of course I'm pondering where to venture off to for Spring Break. Thanksgiving and Winter break are already spoken for. :)
I can't wait to see this in person!

Weekend Hikes
My husband and are pretty active and love the outdoors. Lately, we have been heading out for some day hikes. This weekend we are trying to choose between two different hikes, both in the Santa Monica Mountains. Solstice Canyon has a year around waterfall (hmm...with the heat we've had we shall see if this is fact or fiction), the oldest stone structure in Malibu, a well preserved burnt down mansion from the 1950's, a view of the Pacific Ocean. The second hike is the Murphy Ranch Trail. This hike seems to be a little more hardcore and a bit spooky. In the 1930's Nazi sympathizers built a refuge here and the building remains (albeit graffitied). Decisions, decisions...

Solstice Canyon

Murphey's Ranch...a little creepy to say the least.

And I Gave My Boys a Bath

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