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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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

April Fools' Day is Coming!

April Fools’ Day is coming. I remember when I was young eager to tell my father that his shoes were untied so he’d look down and I could say,”April Fools Day”.
I remember kids calling the local zoo and asking for Mr. Peacock(or other resident of the zoo). Whispering to someone that they had a rip in their pants was also a popular thing to say to someone. Gluing a coin to the floor and seeing someone bend down to pick it up was another prank done on April Fool’s Day.

 April Fools’ Day is an opportunity to show kids that history is all around us, even holidays such as April Fools’ Day have a history! It is also a great opportunity to discuss bullying and the difference of doing silly pranks as opposed to mean-spirited or hurtful ones. It’s a day I encouraged students to do an act of kindness for someone else.

All Fools’ Day as April 1st was once called, is a custom that came to the American colonies from the French and British. Although the actually start of April Fools’ Day is not certain, many say the day of doing pranks dates back to the 16th century France. At this time, the new year was celebrated on April 1st and not January 1st. When a new calendar, called the Gregorian Calendar, was introduced, the new year fell on January 1st. Without television, radio, internet, etc., and with many people not being able to read, some people didn’t get the news of the new day for ringing in the new year for a couple of years! Other people just refused to change their celebration day for the new year. These people became the joke of others for whom tricks were played. Things done included sending these people on foolish errands, or to try and tell them things which weren’t true. 
The idea of April Fools’ Day soon spread to other countries. In England, pranks are only done in the morning and it’s considered bad luck to attempt an April Fools’ trick on someone after noon time. And, if you are the victim of someone’s joke, you are called a noodle! In India, in addition to pranks, people put colors on each other to celebrate the start of spring. If you go to the country of Portugal, watch for flying flour, which is what people like to throw on April Fools’ Day! In France, people call each other Poisson d’Avril which means April Fish instead of April Fools! Why a fish? That’s because a young fish is thought to be easily caught, not knowing better. A common activity on this day in France is to put a paper fish on someone’s back.
Some famous April Fools’ Day Pranks:
1. A famous April Fools’ Day activity occurred in 1998 when Burger King said they had a new “left-handed Whopper” which had the ketchup, pickles and other condiments on the left side of the bun to help left handed eaters. Many came in to order “left” Whoppers on that day!
2. In 1957, a news show aired a video on a spaghetti harvest in the country of Switzerland. People were pulling strands of spaghetti dangling down from trees. People actually called the news show asking how they could purchase a spaghetti tree!
3. In 1996 the Taco Bell Company said they had bought the famous Liberty Bell and were renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell! Many people called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia, PA, saying they were angry about the sale of the Liberty Bell to a food restaurant!

I have an April Fools' Day resource. In addition to the reading passage on the history of the holiday, there are 15 famous April Fools’ Day pranks. There is also an activity with 8 “What do You Think?(Prank or True). For example: Scientists are working on Smell-O-Vision, televisions that can produce thousands of smells so, for example, if you are watching a cooking show, you may be able to smell the onions!(answer: Once done as a hoax back in 1965, some scientists are currently experimenting with this idea…so true)
There are also 8 comprehension questions and 7 extended activities. Click here:


PS: I have seen April Fool's Day and April Fools' Day. Reference books say that April Fools' Day is more correct...

More April Fools' Pranks to Share:
Click here for FREE download:

The oldest recorded April Fools’ Day prank may date back to 1698!  People in London, England, were told that lions would be washed in the moat(ditch) around the Tower of London.  Several people went to see the washing of the lion. Arriving at the Tower of London, there were no lions to be seen in the moat getting lathered up with soap. The date of the event: April 1st!

Thomas Edison was featured in an April Fools’ Day prank dating back to 1878. The New York Graphic newspaper announced on its front page that the famed inventor had developed a machine that could take soil and change it into cereal and vegetables. It could also turn water into wine and produce biscuits. No one would ever need to go hungry again. Newspapers around the country announced the invention giving Edison much praise. The invention would change the world! The date of the article said it all…April 1st.

People lined the banks of the Arkansas River. in 1906, after the Wichita Daily Eagle’s front page told of a massive wave(11 ft. high) carrying millions of frogs would get to the city of Wichita at exactly 10AM. Said to be 11 miles in length, people waited for hours for the amazing occurrence only to realize that it was an April Fools’ Day prank.

In 1974, people living in Sitka, Alaska, were frightened when billows of black smoke rose from Mount Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano.  Could the volcano be erupting?Turns out that someone had brought old tires into the crater and set them on fire as an April Fools’ Day prank.

In 2013, people were amazed to hear that Virgin was introducing a glass-bottom airplane!  Imagine, sitting in an airplane and SEEING the clouds beneath your feet. Many people were very excited about this new airplane and took to social media to spread the word. It was an April Fools’ Day prank.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Radar Scans Suggest Two Hidden Chambers in King Tut's Tomb! Possible Discovery of the Century?

Very exciting news! I have always been fascinated with ancient Egypt and mummies. Archaeologists(3/16/16) say radar scans show "90%" chance of two hidden chambers in Tut's Tomb! Hopefully, more information will be announced in the coming weeks. It is being called the possible "Discovery of the Century". There is talk that the mummy of Queen Nefertiti(a wife of King Tut's father) and her treasures MAY be hidden in these chambers!  
Wow...I am so excited about the prospects of this discovery!
Learn about King Tut. Practice oral reading fluency in Language Arts with this biographical reader's theater on King Tut.Learn lots of cool facts about mummies and the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Comprehension/discussion questions/ extension activities,Great for informative text/listening standards.

If you aren't a social studies teacher, the Reader's Theater Script might be something for an " In the News" or Friday activity. Kids love mummies.

Also have a FREEBIE: My King Tut Day(yes, there is one!) resource could be used as a possible Interactive Notebook Activity if you are discussing this news story.

Did I say I am very excited about this news story???

Friday, March 4, 2016

St. Patrick's Day is Coming!

What comes to mind when you think of Ireland. Perhaps, it's shamrocks, no snakes, the Blarney Stone, leprechauns? With St. Patrick's Day coming, it's a great opportunity to introduce kids to the country of Ireland. First ask students to locate the country of Ireland on a map. Ask the students to share any prior knowledge they may have on the country of Ireland.

1. Learn about a dolmen, peat,St. Brendan, a clochan, New Grange and more:  Check out some photographs of Ireland at my website for teachers/kids:  

2.   Learn about the history of the Kerry Bog Ponies, the Blarney Castle and more.  Read my travel diary of one of my visits to Ireland:

Did You Know? Facts about Ireland:

1. Famous people from  Ireland include  Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver's Travels.  The story of Dracula was written by Bram Stoker, also of Ireland!  Famous poets from Ireland include W.B. Yates  and James Joyce.

2. The Republic of Ireland, or Eire(in Irish) is nicknamed the "Emerald Isle"  because of its very green landscape.

3. Irish(also called Irish Gaelic) is the first official language(with English second).

4. St.Patrick's Day is a national holiday in Ireland. 

5. The national symbol of Ireland is the shamrock.

6. The Celtic Knot symbolizes the continuity of life and is a symbol of Ireland.

7. Muckanaghederdauhaulia is a village found in County Galway.  Meaning “marsh of the pigs between two seas", it is the longest name for a place in Ireland.

8. The National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin, Ireland, is dedicated to the folklore and mythology of Ireland.

9. In Irish folklore, there are only male leprechauns.

10. Ireland was the very first country in the world to tax plastic bags.(2002)

11. A burial tomb found near Dublin, Newgrange, may be older than the pyramids of Egypt,and were built about 4000BC.

12. The Irish monk St. Brendan may have reached North America before Columbus, in the 6th century.

13. Halloween has its origins in Ireland.

Check out my Reader's Theater Script on McSean, the Leprechaun and learn a "wee" bit about the country of Ireland and about leprechauns!


Illustration from

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Welcome Back to Earth, Astronaut Scott Kelly!

An Amazing accomplishment Scott Kelly!

Could you stay in a small confined space for almost year? Could you stay indoors and not feel the sun or breeze on your face for almost a year? Could you be apart from your families and friends for almost a year? That's what astronaut Scott Kelly did. He just returned to Earth after spending 340 days at the International Space Station.  Admitting that it was a long time, Kelly said he was encouraged that astronauts could even spend longer times in space. That is what would be needed for a manned trip to the planet Mars. Kelly's living space at the ISS was about the space of a phone booth. He did have internet access to keep in touch with famiy and friends back on Earth. Kelly said there were definitely things he missed while at the ISS. He said that being apart from people that he cared about was difficult. However, Kelly also says the return to earth was bittersweet. Just imagine the spectacular view he had of the Earth from space as he traveled around the Earth at about five miles per second or the beautiful sun rises he got a chance to see from space. Together with his identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, who stayed Earth-bound, the brothers were also able to do much to help scientists to study the long term effects of space on the human body.
In total, Astronaut Kelly has the most time in space for an American, with a total of 520 days(over four flights). He ranks 17 in the world for total time in space. 

What do YOU Think?
1.What would be the first food you would eat on returning to Earth? 
2. What would be the first activity you would want to experience after such a long time in space?
3. Would YOU be able to endure such a record time in space? Why, why not?

Photograph from Scott Kelly's Twitter Page