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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Thursday, July 28, 2016


A-Z Teacher LIST
With the new year about to begin, I’d like to share my A-Z Teaching List.   If you have suggestions, please share.
Gail Hennessey

A-Always exhibit an interest in what you are teaching.  If you think it’s important , your students will, too. Have an assessment for how to grade your students.

B- Be prepared with your lesson. Have “bell ringers" to keep students on task when you  are collecting papers, etc. It’s better to have MORE than not enough for each day’s lesson.

C-Try to make connections with other areas of study with cross curricular activities whenever possible.  Critique your lessons each day for what you liked and what needs improvement. 

D- Dress for success, your “teacher uniform"  should not be too casual, Decorate your room.(It’s your “home away from home for 7 hours each day). Don’t READ your with the students.

E-Establish expectations and a class climate which students will come to expect each class. Keep an “emergency folder"with activities for a couple of days which a sub can do should you be called away and not have time to leave detailed lesson plans. Make EYE contact with your students.

F-Try and Focus on the positive each day.  Negatives will only get you down. Fire drill procedures and emergency Z Schedule procedures should be learned immediately and reviewed with the students.

G- Set up a Grading system. How many grades will you give a week, what will the different assignments be weighed for importance, etc. 

H- Have consequences for students not meeting your requirement and follow through with parent telephone calls, after school or lunch detention, etc. HANG students’ work around the room.  State and post your Homework policy.

I- Offer incentive especially for younger learners such as “praise"  for good work, less homework passes  or bonus point, etc. REWARD positive behavior. Make sporadic  “positive" telephone calls home.(Personal note: The initial voice of the parent was always suspect when I’d say I was their teacher calling. When I said I was calling to say how proud I was of their son/daughter for a particular reason  and wanted to call, their tone changed. I had a number of parents contact the principal AFTER my call to say how the call had such a positive impact. The student was always walking on air the next day,too! I remember some students sharing they got a positive treat because of my phone call!) 

J-Just try your best and realize you won’t always have a successful lesson.

K-Keep  note paper in your desk(or Thank you notes)  and distribute to students who show improvement, responsibility, citizenship, helpfulness ,etc.

L-Try and laugh each day! 

M- “Menu"  of what will be covered in the class-write it on the board so students know what is to be covered. Mark your papers.  If you give an assignment, look at what is done. (My feeling is students shouldn’t mark students’ work....that’s(in my opinion)  your job. Peer review doesn’t count as I believe this can be a useful learning tool).Motivate your students by “acting"  and performing.

N- Never be alone with a student!(especially middle school and high school students).

O- Be Organized. Keep folders of lessons developed, websites used so you have them for future reference. 

P-Use Primary sources to help to enhance the lesson and foster DBQ essay writinHomeschool Curriculum Marketplaceg, Gather Personal information on each student (birthday, telephone, address, study buddy to send work if ill, etc.) Proof read any work that is distributed to students for spelling and grammar. Speak professionally.

Q- Ask lots of questions to keep your students on task.

R- Review often all  terms and concepts throughout your unit. (Have the students HEAR, SEE , READ and WRITE , more than one method to help retain materials covered in class)Have a daily routine.  How will you arrange your room?  What works best for the particular students, rows, groups, assigned seats,etc.) *** Personally, I allow the students to sit with whom they’d like thus already finding “Friends"  and allow them to  stay where they selected unless they show that they can’t work well during class where they are sitting. Create a RUBIC for student assessment.

S-Share some personal self interests with your students(favorite color, favorite author or sports team, etc.). I shared my ballerina picture from when I was 10 and my 6th grade report card. There was a photograph of my husband and my dogs on my desk. Set an example, for some, you may be their only positive role model!  Smile!(it’s a great stress reducer)  Shake hands with the students on the first day and during the school year.

T- Ask experienced teachers for ideas on classroom management and other issues. Be open to suggestions. 

U- Use text to self connections whenever possible. Try and find a way for kids to see a connection with what is being taught and their lives.

V- Have variety of teaching styles and activities in your lesson.

W-Wrap up each lesson by reviewing the key concepts, vocabulary and any assignment to be given.  WALK around the room during the presentation of your lesson . Have students WRITE in journals, their notes(interactive notebooks), etc.

X- Do “xtras"  such as chaperoning a dance, going to a sporting event, having students come for lunch.

Y- “You"  set the tone of your classroom. Someone needs to be in charge of your classroom, make sure it is you!

Z- Get enough ZZZZZZZZZZ each night so you are well rested for the next day.

Gail  Hennessey

My website for teachers/kids:

Illustration from:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Factoids about the Olympic Games(Possible Interactive Notebook Activity)

Gail Skroback  Hennessey

Possible Interactive Notebook Activity
Click here for downloadable version:

1.  The Heraia was an event honoring Hera, Zeus’ wife. Held ever 4 years,unmarried woman participated in their own games The event was a running event. It was in 1900 that women were first allowed to participate in the modern Olympic Games. 
2. The first TEAM sport of the modern olympics, added in 1900, was football.
3.  The city of London, England, has the record of hosting 3 Olympics.
4.  With 4 Winter and 4 Summer Olympic Games, the United States has hosted the most games. 
5. The motto of the Olympic Games is in Latin. “Citius,Altius, Fortius “ means Swifter, Higher, Stronger. 
6. A baker named Coroebus was the first record winner of an Olympic competition in 776BC-a running event.
7.  In 2012, both softball and baseball were dropped from the games. Wrestling, one of the original Olympic sports has been dropped from the 2020 Olympics.
8. Tug-of-War, Croquet and lacrosse were once Olympic sports. 
9. The Caribbean nation of Jamaica sent a bobsled team to the 1988 Winter Olympic games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada!
10. In 2012, Saudi Arabia, who never allowed women to participate on their Olympic teams, allowed two women to compete(judo and 80m running competition). The change came when the Olympic committee said the male teams would be disqualified if females were banned(on grounds of gender discrimination).
11. Women made history at the 2014 Winter Games with their first ski jumping event(men have been doing the event since 1924).
12. 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, held in  Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, is the very first time  the olympics were held in a country on the continent of South America.
13. At the 2016 games, there will be a group of between 5-10 athletes competing for the first time under the Olympic flag. They are athletes that have been forced from their countries and are refugees.
14. Vinicius, a blue and yellow creature representing the different wildlife of the country of Brazil, is the mascot for the 2016 Summer Games. See the mascot at this link:  
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 olympics, ask the students to share any prior knowledge they may have on the olympics.
  2. Have the students read over the facts.
  3.  Afterwards, have students write 7 facts they remember about the Olympic fun fact list.
  4.  Have students do one or more of the extension activities.

Check out these resources:
  1. Learn about the History of the Olympics with this fun/informativeweb quest:
  2. Learn about Brazil, the host country of the 2016 Olympic   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 Olympic Games originated with this webquest. There are also comprehension questions and extension activities:
Bundle of all these items including the factoids on this page:


Illustration from:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

COOL facts about Ice Cream
Did you Know that JULY is National Ice Cream Month  in the USA? It was established by President Ronald Reagan, in 1984. National Ice Cream Day is the 3rd Sunday in July. Learn some fun facts about ice cream!

• One scoop of ice cream needs about 50 licks to finish.

• The Chinese were making a type of ice cream with milk,rice and snow, about 2000 BC.

• The average American eats 48 pints of ice cream each year.

• To make one gallon of ice cream, you need 12 pounds of milk. A dairy cow can produce enough milk for about 9000 gallons of ice cream in its lifetime.

• The USA is the world's leading producer of ice cream.

• Alexander the Great liked nectar and honey flavored snow.

• National Ice Cream Month is in July.

• Yes...vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor(followed by chocolate and strawberry).

• An ice cream tester for Dreyer's Ice Cream actually insured his tongue for $1 million dollars!

• Dolly Madison served strawberry ice cream at the second inaugural ball of her husband, President James Madison, in 1812.

• Sunday is the day of the week when the most ice cream is sold in the United States.

• Did you know that one of the main ingredients in ice cream is ....AIR.(makes it lighter and gives it  smoothness)

• During WW2, the U.S. Navy(1945) built a floating ice cream parlor   for our sailors fighting in the Pacific.

• More ice cream is sold in the WINTER months in Canada than the summer months.

• Strange ice cream flavors? Jalapeno, dill pickle ice cream, garlic ice cream, bacon ice cream,blue cheese and shallots, squid ink and curry carrot ice cream might be flavors to include in this list.

• The world's largest ice cream cone weighted 2204 pounds. It was 13 feet tall. It was made in Gloucester, UK, in 2012.

• The world's largest ice cream sundae was created in Kingston, NY, in 2014. It  was 1606 ft. tall.

• Ever get a brain freeze from eating ice cream?  The top of the mouth has lots of nerves. When cold ice cream comes into contact with these nerves, it causes blood vessels in the brain to dilate, giving the short headache also known as an ice cream headache.

• Thomas Jefferson loved ice cream. See his recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream at this link:

Extension Activities:

* Write a haiku poem on ice cream.

* If you had to describe ice cream to an alien from outer space, what would be 3 descriptives you'd use to explain the treat.  Write a paragraph about your encounter sharing ice cream with an alien.

* Draw/color a picture of an ice cream sundae. Exchange your drawing with 3 others and have them write descriptive words to describe what they see. When your drawing is returned, write a paragraph using the comments about your ice cream sundae.

* There is a saying, " A picture is worth a 1000 words. Illustrate/color one of the facts about ice cream which conveys the fact.

Additional Links:
  1.   Read about how Ice Cream helped the Allies in World War 2  and how Mussolini banned ice cream in Italy during the war.



Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tour de France 2017 has begun!

The 2017, Tour de France began on July1st and ends on July 23rd. It's considered the world's biggest and most exciting bicycling race. It is in its 114 year!  Athletes competing in the race will travel  approximately 3516 k (2183miles) during the 22 day race. This year's Tour de France began in Dusseldorf,German, and will end in Paris, France. Each day(called stages), a leader  will be awarded a yellow jersey(or Maillot Jaune in French). In addition to the yellow jersey, there is a polka dot jersey awarded to the best climber(king of the mountains), a white jersey( the best youngest rider) and a green jersey(best sprinter).The Tour de France began in 1903. 
See a map with the 2017 route:

Fun Facts:

Only men compete in the Tour de France.

Approximately, 123,900 calories are burned by each rider in the Tour de France.

42000 water bottles will be used by the racers!

Someone figured out that enough sweat is created from racers competing in the 22 day race, to flush a toilet 39 times!

Riders from France have won the most races!(36 as of 2015)

Vocabulary word: Peloton, the term for the "pack" of riders.

Extension Activities:
1. Write a diary pretending to be one of the cyclists in the Tour de France. What do you see? Feel? Hear?

2. Try this FREE crossword puzzle on France:

3. Draw/color a picture of a bicycle. Write a fact learned about the Tour de France on your drawing.

4. Read about the Eiffel Tower, one of France's most famous landmarks:

5. Do you think women should be allowed to compete with the men's Tour de France? Why or why not?

6. Learn some fun facts about France:

Illustration from:Wpclipart

Friday, July 1, 2016

Saw this news story and thought it might make for an interesting "bell ringer" for kids. Teachers might want to save this for an activity to use when they are back in session.

Fireworks are an invention from the Chinese to the world. The colorful light shows create lots of smiles when fireworks brighten up the night sky.  Not all creatures like the light shows. Dogs  especially dread the noise of fireworks. The sounds of fireworks really hurts their sensitive ears.  A town in Italy, Collecchio, has taken action to help their four legged population. They banned fireworks with noise and have decided to purchase future fireworks from a company which produces silent ones!

What do you think?
1. Would a firework display lose its enjoyment if they were silent? 
2. What do you think of Collecchio’s new law?

Hope you find these occasional Bell Ringers of interest... :-)

Note: The photograph is from

Learn about the country that invented fireworks with this fun/informative web quest: