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

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


When you think of your childhood, does one toy or stuffed animal or other item, comes to mine?  Mine was Pinkie. Pinkie is beige(so go figure the name I chose as a little girl). My mom had to sew her eyes and nose back on a number of times and the stuffing got squashed when I dropped it in the street and a car ran after it before my dad heroically rescued Pinkie for me.  

In the beginning of the school year, I'd take Pinkie from her protective plastic bag resting in a memory box in the attic, bring her to class and start an activity to show kids that each of them has their own history. My 6th graders usually giggled seeing me holding my favorite childhood toy but they soon got into the activity.
What was YOUR favorite childhood toy?
Why was it so important to you?
Who gave it to you?
Describe what it looked like.
What became of your favorite Childhood toy?

Now, take the information you wrote down and write a paragraph on you favorite childhood toy.

Many of my 6th graders that still had their favorite childhood toy asked if they could bring it to class to show as they volunteered to read their paragraphs.

Do you have a favorite childhood toy? What was it? Love to see you share your comments.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

In the News- Surfing a Record Wave!

I can't imagine surfing down such a whopper of a wave!

Perhaps, this news short might be of interest for a quick "bell-ringer" activity while you are checking homework, doing attendance, etc.

Carlos Burle has surfed into the record books by hanging ten down a wall of water estimated to be 100 ft. tall! The beach at Nazare, Portugal,Praia do Norte, is famous for their REALLY big waves and Burle hit the jackpot thanks to the St. Jude storm that had recently hit the European area. Currently, the record for surfing the biggest wave, was done by Garret McNamara in 2011 when he caught a 78 ft. wave in the same area. People on the shore watching say that when these massive waves crash onto the shore,it's like that of an earthquake, causing the ground under the feet to shake. Guinness World Records still needs to certify the measurement before they can announce officially that Burle indeed has surfed an amazing mountain of water!

*Pretend you are Burle, what would you be thinking as you began your descent down the wave?

*Write a headline for the news story.

*What safety gear would you wear?

Photograph from


Monday, October 21, 2013

A pumpkin grown by Tim and Susan Mathison, Napa, California has smashed the record for its mammoth size. The giant pumpkin weighed in at 2032 pounds. Grown in 105 days,the pumpkin surpassed the 2012 record pumpkin of 2009 pounds.Photograph from 

Pretend you are a pumpkin sitting on a front porch on Halloween night. What do you see? What do you hear? How do you feel? Write a story about your evening.

Review tips on how to grow a giant pumpkin. Give groups of students the ten steps on different index cards. Have the students place the steps in proper sequencing.

What would you do with a giant pumpkin?

Fun Fact: The city of Keene, N.H. has regained the title for the most lit jack=o-lanterns. On October 18,2013, 30,581 carved and lit pumpkins were on display!
Learn about pumpkins with this fun/informative webquest:

Photograph from:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nobel Prize for Peace

Ever wonder what people might say about you after you die? Perhaps, you'd like others to say you were a good friend or that you displayed kindness to all. A man named Alfred Noble actual got to read what people though of him when they thought he'd died in an explosion at a factory he owed. He was called the “merchant of death”!

Alfred Noble,born 1833, in the country of Sweden, was the invented of dynamite. He thought that this invention could be used for good. Dynamite could blast through rock to build tunnels and bridges. But,dynamite could be used as a deadly weapon! The newspaper that called him the “merchant of death” said his dynamite would "kill more people faster than seen before."

Upset by how he was being remembered, Noble got an opportunity to do something most of us do not. Since he was still alive, he had a chance to change the opinion people had of him. Having become very wealthy from his invention of dynamite(he also invented hundreds of other things), Noble shocked his family when he died in 1896. He had changed his will to leave most of his huge fortune not to them, but to a trust to award people who made contributions in Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Literature and Peace. The awards were to be called the Nobel Prizes. Each October, awards are presented. The recipients receive a diploma,gold metal and a very large check!

Thus far, three American presidents have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson won the award. In 2002, President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and in 2009, President Barack Obama received the award. In 2009, the award was over 1.4 million dollars!

 In 2013, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. This group is watching the current checking of the destruction of such weapons in the country of Syria.Congratulations to this organization for their efforts!

 I feel that another of those nominated such be highlighted on this day.

 Malala Yousafzai,16,was the youngest person ever nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in the country of Pakistan, Malala has wanted to do something many children take for granted. She wanted the right to go to school and get an education. Unfortunately, in her area of Pakistan, a very strict group, called the Taliban forbid girls from getting an education. Malala started a blog which was published by the BBC website. She explained what was happening in her home area and what it was like being denied an education.

Eventually, Malala was able to attend school but the Taliban didn’t like how this young girl had so vocally attacked their views on girls and schooling. On October 9, 2012, while riding a school bus home from school, two Taliban men carrying guns stopped the bus and got on. The men shouted that they would kill everyone on the bus if Malala wasn’t identified. They pointed their guns at the young teen and shot her! Amazingly, Malala survived the attack. It took many months for her to heal from the horrible attack.

 In 2012, the teen was named one of the top 100 influential people in the world by Time Magazine for her efforts to bring awareness to the fact that many girls were being denied an education.

 In July 2013, Malala spoke at the United Nations. It was her 16th birthday. She asked that people unite for equality in education for girls and boys. In her speech, Malala said,”One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” She also said that people such as the Taliban are afraid of books and pens and that the power that comes from an education frightens such people. She also said,”Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.”        
Despite the fact that the Taliban continues to make death threats again this remarkable teen, Malala continues to speak out. May the spirit in Malala take hold in us all!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Islands, they can be big and small. They can be found in oceans, lakes and rivers. Learn some interesting facts about some of the islands in the world!

The most populated island in the world is Java(part of the country of Indonesia).

The largest island in the world is Greenland. Australia, which is 3x the size of Greenland, is considered a continent.

The man-made islands called the World Islands of Dubai are in the shape of the continents! There is also an artificial group of islands created in the area that looks like a giant palm tree. The Palm Tree Islands is called the world’s largest artificial island and can be seen from outer space. See beautiful photographs of Palm Islands at this link:

As of 2013, the world’s newest island is Zalzala Koh, an island that popped out of the Arabian Sea following an earthquake in Pakistan! Scientists think it may only be around for the next year.

It is estimated that 1 out of 10 people live on islands!

The dodo bird, a flightless bird, lived on the island of Mauritius(Indian Ocean). It was the thought to be the first recorded creature to become extinct. Similar to a pigeon, sailors from Holland brought rats, cats, dogs,pigs and crab-eating macaques with them on their voyages. The dodo had not natural enemies until these creatures came to the island. Sailors easily hunted the dodo birds and the birds were gone within one hundred years(1681). Learn more about the dodo bird:

Yumenoshima is an island in Japan’s Tokyo Bay made out of trash. Since then,several other garbage islands have been created around the world!

The Maldives island nation found in the Pacific ocean is sinking and is thought to have less than 100 years left before it become submerged under the waters.

A real “garbage” island,twice the size of the state of Texas,is located between Hawaii and San Francisco, California.

Ometepe, an island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, is the oldest inhabited island! People have lived there since 300 BC!

The world's largest river island is Ilha do Bananal found in the country of Brazil.

 Iceland, is the world’s largest volcanic island. Learn more about Iceland: and :

The Galapagos Islands( 600 miles west of the country of Ecuador) are famous for its large tortoises. Charles Darwin visited the islands and wrote his book on the theory of evolution, “The Origin of Species”, after observing the life on the islands.

Easter Island,one of the most distant located inhabited islands is found 2237 miles from the country of Chile. Easter Island, discovered on Easter Day, 1772, is famous for the nearly 900 tall statues(called moia),many of which are 3 stories tall. Learn more about the moias at this link:

Note: Illustration from:

Friday, October 4, 2013

The New York Public Library has released its 100 Great Children's Books.
Thought it might be of interest to post. Check out the entire list at this link:

How many have you read? Can you think of a book that you would add to the list?

Classic Books that I would consider for the list include:
Around the World in 80 Days
Swiss Family Robinson
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Black Beauty
The Prince and the Pauper.

Other books I'd consider for the list include:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Anne of Green Gables

Activity: Show the list to your students. Ask them how many of the books on the list they have read. Ask them to suggest a book to add to the list of great 100 Children's books. Why would they think other kids should read the book that they suggest for the list?


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's That Time of Year to Discuss MUMMIES!
Whether you are teaching ancient Egyptians(one of my favorite units of study when I taught 6th grade!) and are discussing mummies or maybe, you need some fun mummy information for around Halloween, I have compiled lots of fun mummy facts you may find useful.  For example:
1. Some male and female mummies were buried with extra hair wigs!
2. The mummy of Pharoah Ramses 11 has a passport. When his mummy traved to France from Egypt, a passport was issued for his travels!
3. Licorice root and watermelon seeds were found in King Tut's tomb as well as a change of underwear!

I have included lots of great resources, too(website of interest, interactive activities and video clips) and several extension activities. The resource is Amazing Mummy Facts and it is FREE. Check it out at this link:

Hope you find it of value to use with your students!
Gail ots of free resources to use with your students....

Museum Night-Each year I held a Museum Night where students displayed a project that they created. Parents and grandparents often assisted with the projects which were pretty amazing! I encouraged their involvement as I felt it was a great way to share social studies in the home. Of, course, each year, I'd get a call the morning of Museum Night asking me how I could expect their child to make a project for homework in one night...When I told the parent the students had 2 weeks AND that a paper went home to be signed explaining the project assignment, they said they would be speaking with their child.