Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
Click on icon to go to my website:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Chocolate Facts- Just the Thing for Around Valentine's Day! Interactive Notebook Activity

Chocolate Fun Facts
Gail Skroback Hennessey
Do you love chocolate? If you do, you may want to hide a few bars away for a future date. Seems that chocolate may be running out and, in the not so distant future. Researchers says that chocolate, which comes from cacao beans, may be a thing of the past in less than 40 years! The reason, the warming of our planet is making for less and less places for the bean to thrive. Additionally, the demand for chocolate is growing, especially in places such as China where people are  developing a “sweet” tooth. More and more people are also especially sweet on dark chocolate, which requires more cocoa than other types of chocolate. Still another problem is that a fungus is attacking the cacao beans as they grow on the trees. Let’s hope that we can solve the chocolate problem, so we can all continue to enjoy its yummy taste! 

Click here for the free downloadable version of this Interactive Notebook Activity:

Chocolate Factoids:
1. Now THIS is a chocolate bar. Weighing 12,770 pounds when made, it earned the title of world's largest! A ton is 2000 pounds. Approximately, how many tons of chocolate was this bar? _______________

2. To make one pound of chocolate, you need about 400 cocoa beans.

3. Did you know that one of the things sold in Ben Franklin’s printing shop was chocolate? Write TWO facts you know about Ben Franklin:_____________and___________

4. Do you like white chocolate? Actually, it doesn’t have any cocoa and really isn’t chocolate!

5. Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, is said to have had 50 cups of a chocolate drink every day. He drank out of a golden goblet.

6. Originally, hot cocoa was served without sugar and was a very bitter drink.

7. An amazing 23 million Hershey kisses candies are made every day.

8. Milton Hershey had tickets for the maiden voyage of the Titanic but cancelled due to a meeting. Do you know anything about the Titanic? _________________

9. At one time, people in Meso-America(Central America) used cacao beans as money. What might be two problems using cacao beans as money?____________ and ___________

10. “Chocolate” comes from the word, “xocolatl, a Mayan word for “bitter water”.

11. If you have a cough, you may wish to try eating chocolate to get rid of a cough. Seems to work!

12. Chocolate is very dangerous for dogs and cats!

13. For a time in 2013, the country of Belgium made a stamp which had a chocolate flavor.

14. The candy M and Ms were developed as a treat for soldiers during World War 2. The hard shell kept the chocolate from melting too quickly.

15. The chocolate chip cookie was first baked by Ruth Wakefield. The year was 1930. In exchange for a lifetime of chocolate, she gave her recipe to the Nestle’s Company.

16. Did you know that two countries in Africa produce half the world’s chocolate? Those countries are Ghana and the Cote d’Ivoire.

17. On Columbus’ fourth visit, he is credited with bringing back  to Europe the first cocoa beans(1502-1504)

Your Turn:
1. What do you think this saying means? "Life is like a box of never know what you're gonna get.”( From the movie, Forrest Gump.)
2. What is your favorite chocolate treat? Write a descriptive paragraph describing your favorite chocolate treat to a Martian who has never experienced the treat.
3. Illustrate one of the chocolate factoids.
4. Using a world map, locate the countries mentioned in this information.
5. Find 7 nouns. Find 7 verbs. Find 4 pronouns.

Teacher Page:
  1. Before reviewing the facts on chocolate, ask the students to share any prior knowledge they may have on chocolate.
  2. Have students review the factoids on chocolate and do the Your Turn section. Put the handout away and ask the students to write 5 facts they remember from the list.
3.  Review the responses to the Your Turn section.
Check out these resources:
The first in my series, Everything Has a History, check out my History of Candy Internet activity. Why not show your students that even candy has a history with this fun/informative web quest! Learn facts including marshmallows date back to 2000 BC and King Tut's Tomb contained licorice. I also have included several additional resources and extension activities. Great for a Friday, a day before a vacation activity or just when you'd like to share with kids that...everything has a history!

Candy and chocolate are very popular on Valentine’s Day. Check out this resource. Valentine’s Day is February 14th. The symbol of the holiday is a heart. What do you know about the human heart and the Valentine’s Day holiday? Grab a red pencil and use this web quest to find out some very interesting facts about the human heart and the holiday of Valentine’s Day!There are 9 web questions, a 20 All things Red Activity, lots of fun facts and 9 extension activities:

Illustration from:

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Famous Games from Ancient Greece are Coming! Interactive Notebook Activity

Gail Skroback  Hennessey
Click here for the free downloadable version of this Interactive Notebook Activity:

1. In ancient Greece, unmarried women participated in their own games. Held ever 4 years, the event was held to honor Zeus’ wife, Hera. The event was a running event. In 1900, women were first allowed to participate in the famous modern games.  
2. The original games were a religious activity to honor the ancient Greek god, Zeus.
3. In 1900, the first TEAM sport of the modern games was added. It was football.
4.  The city of London, England, has the record for hosting the Olympic Games. The city has hosted THREE times!
5.   In total, the United States has hosted the most games. The USA has hosted FOUR  Winter Games and FOUR Summer Games. 
6. The motto of the Olympic Games is in Latin.  “Citius,Altius, Fortius “ means “Swifter, Higher, Stronger”. 
7. A baker named Coroebus was the first record winner of an olympic competition. The year was 776BC. He competed in a running event.
8.  In 2012, both softball and baseball were dropped from the games. Wrestling, one of the original sports from the games in ancient Greece, has been dropped from the 2020 Olympics.
9. Tug-of-War, Croquet and lacrosse were once sports in the famous games.
10. The Caribbean nation of Jamaica sent a bobsled team to the 1988 Winter games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada!
11. In 2012, Saudi Arabia allowed two women to compete(judo and 80m running competition). It was the first time women from Saudi Arabia were allowed to compete.  The Olympic committee  said the male teams from Saudi Arabia would be disqualified if females were banned. The issue was  gender discrimination.
12. Women made history at the 2014 Winter Games when they were allowed to compete for the first time in  ski jumping. Men have been doing the event since 1924.
13. The Country of Brazil is the largest country on the continent of South America. It is also the 5th largest country in the world. The 2016 Summer Olympics, were held in  Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. It was  the very first time the famous games were held in a country on the continent of South America.
14. At the 2016 games, a group of between 5-10 athletes competed for the first time under the official flag of the olympics.They were athletes that had been forced from their countries and are called refugees.
15.  The 2018 Winter Games will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The mascot is called Soohorang and is a tiger. 

Extension Activities:
1. Pretend you are an Olympic athlete.  In which sport would you be competing? Write a diary entry about your event. How did you feel? What did you see? Did you win? Etc.
2. List THREE important character traits needed to be an Olympic athlete. List three personal characteristics you believe are most positive about you. Give an example to support each of the three characteristics.
3. Illustrate one of the Fun Facts and include a statement in complete sentences describing the illustration.

4. Using a world map, locate the different countries which have hosted the Olympic games:  Find 3 facts about five of the different countries which has had a city host the games.

Teacher Page:
  1. Before reviewing the facts about the history of the famous games of ancient Greece, ask the students to share any prior knowledge they may have on the games. Ask the students to also share any prior knowledge they have on the country of Greece. Locate the country on a world map.
  2. Have the students read over the facts.
3. Afterwards, have students write 7 facts they remember about the factoid list. Illustrate one of the factoids from the list. Write a brief paragraph about the illustration.
4. Use a political world map that shows countries and color the different countries that have hosted the famous games of Greece since 1894. See a list of cities/ countries that have hosted the games.

Check out these resources:
1. Learn about the History of the Famous Games of Ancient Greece with this fun/informative webquest:

2.  Learn about South Korea, the host country for the 2018  Winter Games with this web quest. There are also fun facts, extension activities and a mapskill activity.

3. Learn about the country of Greece, where the famous games originated with this webquest. There are also comprehension questions and extension activities:

Illustration from:

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ben Franklin’s birthday is January 17, 1706. He had lots of sayings on how to live one’s life. For example,” If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him.” He also said, “ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Learn about this famous “founding father” of our country with this webquest!

1. Ben Franklin was a inventor, scientist,writer,statesman and librarian. Believing we could save fuel by using natural light of the sun, Ben first suggested an idea we use today. _______________________Find the answer at:

2. Ben Franklin signed FOUR important documents in U.S. History. Name these four documents:_____________, ________________, _____________and _________________Franklin didn’t patent any of his ideas because he didn’t wish to make any money from his ideas. List THREE of his inventions:_________,__________ and ___________.Find the answers at this link: 

3. Often called the “ First American”, Ben Franklin became a printer, inventor, writer and eventually became ambassador to which country during the Revolutionary War?____________What musical instrument did Franklin invent?___________________ Franklin also started the first________________ and first___________________ in Philadelphia. Find the answers at this link:

Fun Facts about Ben Franklin

1. While swimming, young Ben used a kite to pull him along the water!

2. Young Ben used some money his parents gave him and went to the store to make a purchase.  He noticed a  young boy blowing a whistle and  asked if  he could buy it.  When he got home, his family laughed that he spent much more than he should have done. Later in life when Ben saw people overpaying for things, he said, “They  give too much for their whistles.”

3. As a young man, Ben  became a vegetarian and lived on potatoes, raisins and bread. With the extra savings and time, Ben purchased books and said he had more time to read.

Test your Knowledge on Ben Franklin: 
1. Ben Franklin is found on which US currency?
A. One dollar bill
B. Ten dollar bill
C.  Hundred dollar bill 

2. In addition to inventing bifocals, a device to reach for items using a  long wooden pole with a grasping claw at the end and an odometer, Franklin invented:
A. electricity
B. lightning rod
C. electronic calculator

3. Ben started the first volunteer fire department , the first free hospital and the
A: first public library in Philadelphia 
B. first pizza restaurant in Philadelphia
C. first public school in Philadelphia
Extension Activities:

• Have one student be Ben Franklin and another be the interviewer. Have students give a short news interview for the class by asking and answering 3 questions.

• If you could go back in time and meet Ben Franklin. What would be a question you would ask of him?  Explain why this question would be something you’d like to have Franklin answer.

* Discuss character traits such as honesty, helpfulness, trustworthy, etc. Ask the students to find 3 character traits about Ben Franklin. Find evidence from the activity to support the traits given to Franklin.  Have students make a list of 3 character traits they feel they have and why they selected the traits.

Check out the complete resource(9 web questions,more fun facts and additional extension activities):


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Snow Factoids! Possible Interactive Notebook Activity


Get the free downloadable version at this link:

Snow Facts
Gail Skroback Hennessey
Fun/Informative Interactive Notebook Activity!

1. One inch of water is about six inches of wet snow or 12 inches  of fluffy snow.

2. The world's largest snowflake was 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick. It fell in Fort Keogh, Montana, on January 28,1887.

3. Snow can be colors other than white, including blue, orange, green, yellow, and purple.  Actually, snowflakes are clear.

4. Air pollution caused orange snow to fall over an area of Siberia, Russia, in 2007.

5. Mount Baker,in the North Cascades, of  Washington State, holds the record for the most snowfall. 1140 inches fell during 1998-1999.

6. The record for the most snow in one storm, within 24 hours, was in Silver Lake, Colorado. Back in 1921, Silver Lake received  76 inches of snow.

7. Heilongjiang Province, China,holds the record for the world's largest snow sculpture. In 2007, a snow sculpture 656 ft. long and 116 ft. tall was made.

8. Snow flakes have SIX sides.

9. On average, a snowflake falls to earth at 3.1 mph.

10. One snowflake contains about 10 quintillion water molecules(that's the number 10 with 10 zeroes).

11. Did you know that Valdez, Alaska, averages 326 inches of snow a year? That makes it the snowiest state.

12. Wilson A. Bentley studied snowflakes for much of his life and is probably the most famous snowflake researcher. He was nicknamed "Snowflake Bentley. 

13.According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world record for the most snowmen built in one hour is 2,036. The record set, on February 28, 2015, involved 1406 people. 

14. If you have  "chionophobia", you have a fear of snow.

15. Bethel, Maine, has the record for the largest snowman ever built. A 122 ft. snow-woman was built in 2008.

Extension Activities:

1. Illustrate one of the factoids.

2. Pretend you are a snowflake. Tell about a day in your life. What did you do? What did you see? Feel? Etc.

3. Do a paper cutting of a snowflake. Write a poem using each of the letters of the word snowflake.

4. Locate 10 NOUNS and 10 VERBS in the factoid statements.

5. Pronouns are NOUN substitutes. Can you spot 7 PRONOUNS  in the Factoid statements?

Check out this resource: 

If you live where there is snow, you have probably built a snowman. The snowman has been around for quite a while. In fact, the earliest drawing of a snowman was found in a book dating back to 1380! The book,"Book of Hours" was found in a library in the country of the Netherlands. This resource has four snowmen reading passages:
1. Famous sculptor, Michelangelo, was hired to make a snowman for a wealthy person in Florence, Italy.
2. A snow man is used each April,to help predict the weather during a festival in the country of Switzerland.
3. One of the earliest written comments about snowmen dates back to 1690. Two snowman were left to guard Fort Schenectady, in New York, during a blizzard with very tragic consequences!
4. The world's record for the largest snowman, Olympia, was constructed in 2008. 13 million pounds of snow were used to make the amazing snow-woman! As of 2015, the record still stands.

Each short reading passage includes following directions to identify answers. There are also several extension activities and a Did you Know? section.

Note: Illustration from

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Remembering a Historic Day in History: Wright Brothers Fly over Kitty Hawk, NC!(Dec. 17th): INA

Did you know that people actually thought that the airplane would have no real purpose? WOW...were they wrong!  On December 17, 1903, less than 10 people showed up to watch Orville and Wilbur Wright make history. In fact most papers(only 3 carried the story in the USA) refused to print the press release of the Wright Brothers' historic flight, believing it was not possible for a human to fly. The December 17, 1903 event had to have been a hoax! 
To honor this historic day in history, use this resource to learn a bit about the history of flight.

Did You Know?
1. Most people at the time of the Wright brothers’ first flight attempts on December 17, 1903, thought that the airplane had NO purpose for transportation and was just a dangerous sport.

2. The distance covered by the 1903 Wright Flyer was less than the wingspan of today's 747 Jumbo Jet!

3. The Wright brothers’ first attempt went 120 ft. That’s about 20 people, about 6ft. tall, lined end to end!

4. Charles Lindbergh was the first to fly non-stop from New York to Paris. The trip, in 1927, took 33.5 hours.

5. Amelia Earhart was the first woman aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The year was 1928.

6. Lillian Gatlin, was the first woman to ride as a passenger in an airplane! The year was 1922.

7. In 1939, Willa Brown was the first African American woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license.

8. Did you know that pilots and co-pilots can not eat the same meal while in flight?

9. Every 37 seconds, an airplane takes off from Chicago O’Hare’s International Airport. That’s about 100 airplanes each hour.

10. The word used for aviation help, “Mayday”, comes from the French “m’aides" meaning “help me.

11. Did you know that 1/3 of your taste buds get numb while flying?

12. Bessie Coleman was an American aviator and the first African American female pilot. She was also the first American to receive an international pilot’s license. 

13. It is said that Gustave Whitehead successful powered an aircraft in Bridgeport, CT, on August 14, 1901. That is two years before the Wright Brothers. Whitehead's craft, called the Condor, did two flights on that date. Reaching 50 Ft., the distance covered was 1 1/2 miles.

14.Aerophobia is the fear of flying.

15. KLM is the world’s oldest airline, started in 1919.

16. Someone estimated that if you add up all the miles flown by all the 747 airplanes, it’s the distance from the Earth to the Moon and back over 75,000 times.c

17. National Aviation Day, August 19th, was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, on the birthday of Orville Wright, who first piloted the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903.

Your Turn:

1. Write a diary entry pretending to be Lindbergh, Earhart, Coleman, Orville/Wilbur Wright and tell about a day in your aviation life.

2. Illustrate one of the factoids. Write a sentence of your own explaining the illustrated fact.

3. Have you ever flown in an airplane? Tell about something you remember about your first time in an airplane.  If you haven't flown, would you like to experience flying? Why, why not.

4. Illustrate one of the facts listed above. Write a sentence of your own explaining the illustrated fact.

5. If you could meet one of the aviators mentioned above, what would be TWO questions you would ask of the aviator?

6. Write 3 POSITIVE(i.e.: helpful) character traits that a person can have. Write 3 NEGATIVE (i.e.: jealousy)character traits a person can have. What would be 2 positive character traits you would describe for yourself. What would be ONE negative character trait you would describe for yourself. What are 3 character traits that you would give to someone that is an aviator such as Lindbergh, Earhart, Coleman, Orville/Wilbur Wright? 

Visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: 

Note: Photograph from Gail Hennessey(Wright Brothers' National Memorial)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

New Year Traditions from Around the World: Possible Interactive Notebook Activity

Teachers: Click here for the complete Freebie(with Extension Activities):

Looking for a possible Interactive Notebook Activity to use with kids just before the holidays(or the week you return in the new year)?

Gail Hennessey 
Bonne annee(French)
Frohes neues Jahr(Germany) 
Felice anno nuovo(Italian) 
Gott nytt ar(Swedish)
Feliz ano nuevo(Spanish) 
Shana tova(Hebrew)
Hauoli makahiki hou(Hawaiian) 
Gelukkig nieuwjaar(Dutch) 
Fun World New Year ’s Factoids! 
1. In Russia, divers place a New Year’s tree into Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake. 
2. Did you know that in Denmark, people like to through old broken dishes at the front door of friends, at New Year’s Eve? 
3. Did you know that eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight is considered good luck in Spain? 
4. Hogmanay is a custom celebrated in Scotland at New Year’s. The word means “last day of the year”. One of the activities is “first footing”, being the first person to visit a neighbor or friend in the new year. Usually, a gift is brought, too. 
5. Christmas trees are made into bonfires to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands. This custom is done to symbolize getting rid of the old and welcoming the new year. 
6. In Switzerland, don’t be surprised if you see people drop a bit of cream onto the floor on New Year’s Eve. It is thought that this will bring good luck in the new year. 
7. In the South American country of Venezuela, people like to write a wish on a piece of paper and then burn it so that the wish may come true in the new year. 
8. In the country of Italy, many people like wearing RED underwear at New Year’s believing the color will bring good luck in the new year. In other cultures, especially several countries in Latin America, wearing YELLOW is considered good luck. 
9. In Mexico, don’t be surprised if you see people carrying empty suitcases around their house or street on New Year’s Eve. The custom is done if you would like to travel in the new year. 
10. The custom of having a ball drop from Times Square, in New York City, on New Year’s Eve began in 1907. Some people in the south, believe eating black eyed peas will bring prosperity in the new year. 
11. In Austria, people like to waltz when midnight strikes in the new year. 
12. Did you know that throwing a bucket of water outside a window at midnight on New Year’s Eve is done in Puerto Rico? It is to get rid of bad spirits. 
13. In Ireland, people bang bread on the walls and doors of their homes at midnight. This is done to scare away evil spirits and to bring good luck. 
14. Finding an almond in rice pudding on New Year’s Eve means good luck in the new year. This custom is found in Sweden and Norway. 
15. People in the Philippines believe that round things bring good luck and often wear cloths with polka dots on New Year’s Eve. Another custom is to have all the lights on in the home on New Year’s Eve so that it will insure a good new year. 
16. Did you know that April Fool’s Day involved New Year’s Day? People used to celebrate the new year around March 25-April 1st. When the calendar changed the new year to January 1st, pranks were played on those that continued to celebrate the New year on April 1. 
1. Which 3 customs did you find the most interesting? Why? 
2. How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve?

3. New Year's Eve is a time to make a resolution for the New Year. What is a goal which you'd like to try and work to accomplish in 2018?

4. Illustrate one of the customs listed above.

5. Using a world map, locate the different countries mentioned in this list. Write ONE fact that you might know about each of these countries.

6. Rewrite 5 customs from the list and make mistakes in spelling or grammar. Exchange  your list with another student for them to be a "proof reader" to find the errors.
Check out my fun/informative web quest on the history of New Years. 
Learn about the history of New Year's with this fun/informative web quest. There are nine questions, lots of interesting customs of how people celebrate New Year's around the world, comprehension questions, extension activities and the key. Great activity for reading for information and research/computer skills. Included are also other holiday New Year's celebrations including Diwali, Chinese New Year, Songkran and Rosh Hashanah. The resources also mentions how April Fool’s Day originated over when to celebrate New Year's! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It's the time of Year for "A Christmas Carol". Learn about Charles Dickens with this Possible Interactive Notebook Activity

With this being the time of year for the story, A Christmas Carol, it's a great opportunity to learn about its author,Charles Dickens. One of the most famous writers of all times,Dickens also wrote Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and more. 

Today, a person who is very tight with money, is often called a scrooge, after, the main character in A Christmas Carol. Did you know that several other words and phrases were coined by Charles Dickens?

Words such as abuzz, flummox, the creeps,round the clock and whiz-bang are credited with Dickens. Other words that Dickens helped to popularize include, kibosh, butter-fingers,boredom,messiness,squashed,bah humbug,and tousled. 

Interesting Facts about Charles Dickens:
1. In addition to a canary(named Dick), dogs(including Mrs. Bouncer), Charles Dickens had two pet ravens. Both were named Grip. The first was stuffed and now resides in the Philadelphia Free Library. 
2. A paw of a Dickens’ cat, Bob, became a letter opener after it died. You can see the letter opener on display at the New York Public Library. 
3.Someone said that if you counted all the words which Dickens used in his writing, it was an amazing 4.6 million different words! 
4. Charles Dickens may have had epilepsy. He also may have had obsessive-compulsive behavior making him comb his hair hundreds of times a day or to touch something several times for good luck.

5. Phrases including “Merry Christmas!” and “Bah! Humbug” became popular after reading Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

6. Did you know that Charles Dickens created 989 characters for his 
7. Hans Christian Andersen was a good friend of Dickens. Interestingly, after 5 weeks of being a guest of Dickens’ home, Andersen was encouraged to leave when Dickens wrote on the mirror in Andersen’s room, “Hans Andersen slept in this room for five weeks, which seemed to the family like AGES”.

8. A “new”treat called the lollypop was featured in several of Dickens’ books.
1. Illustrate a quote of Charles Dickens and write a brief paragraph explaining what you think the quote is saying:
A. “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” 
B. “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” C. “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” 
D. “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.” 
E. “There is always something for which to be thankful.” 
2.  Would you have enjoyed reading an installment book, popular during the time of Charles Dickens? Why, why not?
3. Dickens got lots of his ideas for his characters from people he met in his life. Who might be 3 people you'd use in a story that you have met? Why would you use these people in your story?

Resources of Interest:
1. My webquest includes 8 fun/informative questions to learn about Dickens. Additional activities/links,too. 
Skills include:reading for information and using research/computer skills.

2. In addition to a webquest, I have a Ms. Bie Ografee Reader’s Theater Script on Charles Dickens. Great for this time of year!