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:

Saturday, November 10, 2018

What Became of the Mayflower? Reading Activity for Kids

Perhaps you will find this resource of interest to use with your students during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Feedback always appreciated.

What Became of the Mayflower?

Gail Skroback Hennessey

    Ever wonder what became of the Mayflower? The ship sailed with 102 Pilgrims over the Atlantic to North America, in 1620. If you are expecting to find it docked to some pier, or in a museum, you’d be wrong.  That’s because the Mayflower most likely ended up as scrap wood and may have ended up in an old Quaker Barn in Great Britain!
    It was common practice many years ago, in England, to use unseaworthy ships’ timber to build new things.  Dutch Elm disease had killed many of the trees in 17th century Great Britain and lumber was very scare.  To preserve the number of oak tress from being cut for lumber, wood was priced quite high by the government. That made any available timber, such as that in old ships, very desirable. Since the Mayflower wasn’t an important ship to the people of Great Britain, this is the fate that most likely happened to the Pilgrims’ Mayflower.
    In the early 1900s, a Quaker Historian , named Rendel Harris, found a document stating that the Mayflower had been determined to be unseaworthy. The year was 1624. The ship’s owners then sold the oak ship for its timber to make some money. While attending a funeral at the Quaker Meeting House in Jordans, England, Harris heard someone say the barn had been built from wood of the Mayflower.  That got Harris hunting through documents such as wills and deeds to try and find out whether this was true.
    The age of the barn’s timber dates back to the time of the Mayflower and the barn was said to have been built by one of the owners of the Mayflower.  If you go to the barn, you will notice that the main beam in the barn has a huge crack in it, just like the Mayflower got on its maiden voyage during a bad storm. The size and weight of the hull used in the barn’s construction matches that of the Mayflower and at one time, the letters ER HAR were evident, perhaps, referring to “Mayflower, Harwich, the ship’s home port.
    One thing is certain, if you tilt your head upside down, you can see that a hull of an old ship was used to build the roof of the barn...whether it was the Mayflower, that can’t be certain.

1. 102 passengers in addition to the crew were aboard the Mayflower when it sailed from England to America. The year was 1620.
2. It took 66 days to cross the Atlantic.
3. A baby, named Oceanus Hopkins, was born on the voyage.
4. A crack in a main beam which happened during a bad storm was repaired with a giant screw(perhaps from a printing press or other equipment which was aboard the Mayflower)
5.  Before leaving the ship, the Mayflower Compact was signed, establishing a temporary government for the Pilgrims.
6. By the time of the first Thanksgiving, 52 Pilgrims had died during the harsh winter.

Your Turn!
1. Why were old ships used in construction in Great Britain?
2. Why wasn’t the Mayflower “saved” as an historic ship?
3. What would be 3 fears you would have had as a Pilgrim on the Mayflower voyage?
4. What would be 2 things you might have done to pass the time on the voyage?
5. Create sentences using the highlighted vocabulary words.

NOTE: I visited the “Mayflower Barn” in England and took the photographs.

Gail website for teachers/kids

Fun Turkey Factoids!

Possible Interactive Notebook Activity.
Click here for user friendly version:

November is Thanksgiving time and most of us will be celebrating with a turkey dinner. Did you know that the Native American Indians were raising turkey as far back as 1000 A.D. ? Did you know that the Aztecs, of Mexico, were raising turkeys even earlier, about 200 B.C. ? Did you know that the state of Minnesota raises more turkeys each year than any other state? An estimated 46 million turkeys are raised in Minnesota each year! Share these fun factoids on the turkey with family and friends!

1. Did you know that Ben Franklin wanted the turkey as our country’s national symbol? Some say he just said it was “more respectable” than the bald eagle!

2. For short distances,wild turkeys can fly up to 55 mph and run up to 25 for short distances. Domesticated turkeys are usually too heavy to all!

3. If you get up close to a turkey, they don’t have any external ears BUT still have a great sense of hearing!

4. The only breed of poultry native to the Western Hemisphere is the turkey.

5. If you are wonder what a group of turkeys is called, it’s a flock. A baby turkey is called a poult(or goblet). Groups of turkeys are also called rafters.

6. Only male turkeys can gobble! Females make clicking sounds.

7. Tiny stones in a turkey’s stomach help the turkey grind and digest

food. This part of the stomach is called the gizzard.

8. Someone counted that a turkey has about 5,500 feathers! Eighteen make up the tail fan of a male turkey. Another source says they only have about 3500. That’s still a lot of feathers!

9. The flap of skin under a turkey’s chin is called the wattle.

10. Called the snood, the flap of skin over the turkey’s beak can turn different shades of red depending on the turkey’s mood.

11. The month of June is called National Turkey Lovers’ Month.

12. Find droppings of a turkey? Did you know you can tell whether it was left by a male or female? Female turkeys leave behind droppings looking like the letter J and a male turkey’s dropping are spiral shaped.

13. Did you know that after walking on the surface of the moon, in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate roasted turkey?

14. Guinness Book of Records says a whopper of a turkey tipped the scale at 86 pounds.

15. Four towns in the USA are named Turkey.(They are found in NC, Arizona, Texas and Louisiana). Pennsylvania has two townships with the name Turkey in their name. (Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot)

16. Wishing on the wishbone of a turkey is a tradition at Thanksgiving. The person getting the largest part supposedly gets their wish granted.

17. The idea of a president pardoning(sparing) the life of a turkey is credited with President George H.W. Bush. The first official pardon was given in 1989.

18. Only male turkeys parade their fan of feathers(like a peacock).

19. Some people make turducken at Thanksgiving. This is a turkey which is stuffed with a duck that is stuffed with a chicken!

Extension Activities:
1. Illustrate/color a turkey fact.
2. Pretend you are a turkey. Write a persuasive paragraph stating why

people should eat chicken, fish or beef instead of you!
3. Use the vocabulary words in a sentence.
4. Name 5 countries(other than the U.S.A) found in the Western

Hemisphere! Write TWO facts that you may know about each of
the countries listed.
5. Have small groups of students make 4 factual statements about

turkeys and 4 opinion statements about turkeys. Exchange and have another group determine which are facts and which are opinion statements.
6. Write a poem using each letter of the word, TURKEY.
Some Sources:

Other resources to check out for November:
  1. A Visit With Love Brewster: A Pilgrim at Plymouth Colony(A Reader’s Theater Script): A Ms.Bie Ograffee Reader's Theater Script, an interview with Love Brewster, a Pilgrim of Plymouth Colony.Love was an actual member of the 102 Pilgrims that came to America. He was about nine years old. The play includes info on Mayflower, first winter and Thanksgiving feast. Fun facts,Comprehension questions, extension activities, links.

2. Mayflower and Pilgrims: A Webquest: Learn about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims with this informative web quest!There are ten informative text web quests,extension activities,fun facts. Skills include:reading for information and using research/computer skills.

3. Turkeys and Thanksgiving: A Webquest: Want a fun and informative activity to teach your students about the history of Thanksgiving?This webquest has ten informative text questions on the history of Thanksgiving(including the Macy's Day Parade). TURKEY facts,too!

Pilgrim Factoids: Possible Interactive Notebook Activity

Pilgrim Factoids
Possible Interactive Notebook Activity
Gail Skroback Hennessey

1. Over the years, many people took samples of Plymouth Rock. Today, it is now 1/3 the size it was during the time of the Pilgrims.

2. The sailors on the Mayflower didn’t care for the Pilgrims and called them “flib-gabbety puke stockings” because so many of the Pilgrims got seasick.

3. Would you wear the same clothes for 66 days? The Pilgrims did! 

4. The Pilgrims didn’t have forks on the table at Thanksgiving. Forks weren’t popular until the 18th century.

5. There weren’t any ovens to make pumpkin pie and sugar was in short supply. The Pilgrims also didn’t have cranberry sauce to eat at Thanksgiving.

6. Historians believe that in addition to turkey, the Pilgrims ate lots of venison, cod, clams, sea bass and lobster at their Thanksgiving feast.
7.  Did you know that there wasn’t any milk at the first Thanksgiving? There weren’t any cows brought over on the Mayflower!
8. Here is a list of some of the unusual names of some of the Pilgrims:  Oceanus, Resolved, Peregrine, Wrestling, Love, Remember, Humility  

9. The Mayflower traveled at a speed of 2 mph and traveled 2750 miles from England to North America.  The voyage took 66 days.

10. During the first winter, most of the Pilgrims lived aboard the Mayflower. Half the Pilgrims did NOT survive the first winter.

11. Of the 102 passengers, there were 34 children on the Mayflower’s voyage.

12. The Wampanoag Indians were guests at the first Thanksgiving.

Extension Activities: 
1.  Each family on-board the Mayflower could only bring one trunk of possessions with them.  What would be 7 things you’d  pack?

2. Some historians think when the Mayflower was no longer sea-worthy, its lumber may have been used in the construction of a barn. Read the story here:  You can also get a free download at this link:

3. See a list of the Passengers on the Mayflower in 1620:

4. Illustrate a factoid about the Pilgrims.

5. What would be the two most difficult things for you if you were a pilgrim living in the 1600s?

Link for Teachers:

Additional Resources:

Additional Resources of Interest:

1. A Ms.Bie Ograffee Reader's Theater Script, an interview with Love Brewster, a Pilgrim of Plymouth Colony.Love was an actual member of the 102 Pilgrims that came to America. He was about nine years old. The play includes info on Mayflower, first winter and Thanksgiving feast. Fun facts,Comprehension questions, extension activities, links:

2. The Mayflower was named after a flower called the "Trailing Arbuttus". This flower is an evergreen with a white flower and pink center. Learn more about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims with this fun webquest. Extension activities, additional information and links, and the key are provided:

3.Want a fun and informative activity to teach your students about the history of the first Thanksgiving?This webquest has 11 informative text questions on the history of Thanksgiving and turkeys. Hope you find it of value to use with your students:  

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Geography Awareness Week is November 11-17th: Ideas to foster Geographic Awareness

Geographic Activities to Foster Geographic Awareness.

1. A fun way to show our  Globally Interdependent World: Assign a partner and have the students check the labels on their tops to see where they are made.  Do the same for their shoes. Have the students do a safari search with their partner looking for where things in the room were made(ex: crayons, textbook, colored pencils, ruler, etc.). Explain that in a globally interdependent world, we have goods from many parts of the world.  Identify the countries mentioned on a world map. Continue by having students find things in their home and where they are made. For example- their television, computer, dinner dishes, favorite jeans, favorite game or sporting equipment.  Discuss the countries using a world map for reference and tally up the 4 most popular countries mentioned for products in their homes.  

2. Atlas Letter Game:  Give groups of students a list of letters from A-Z and an atlas.  Have the students find a country, a capital city, river or a mountain range which starts with each letter of the alphabet. Return as a class and tell the students to raise their hand if the same response is given for a letter. Start with A. If more than one group has “Austria” for example, cross out the response and no points are given. If groups have different responses, the teams each earn 2 points. If only one team has a response and no other group has any country, capital city, river or mountain range for the same letter, the team earns 3 points. Continue down the alphabet list reviewing what the groups wrote down on their list of letters. The group with the most points wins!

3. Teaching Latitude and Longitude: Copy the map at this site: or this link:  After explaining coordinates of latitude and Longitude, have students use a crayon to mark N(north) and S(south) above and below the equator and E(east) and W(west) on opposite sides of the Prime Meridian.  Explain that Latitude is stated first.  Have students place their one hand on the latitude line and the other hand on the longitude line for the coordinates you state.  For example, Which continent is 40 degrees N of the Equator and 140 degrees W of the Prime Meridian?(Asia). For younger children. Use colored masking tape and make a grid on the playground.  Place  0, 20, 30, 40,50 north and same for south on the latitude lines. Place 0, 15, 30, 45, 60 east and west on the Longitude lines.  Have a student stand on the 20 N and another student stand on 15 W. Have them walk together until they meet.  Another latitude and longitude activity is to make a grid using the coordinates  and having  LETTER where they meet. In groups have students figure out a short message from given coordinates using the letter grid.
4. Geographic IQ Game: Prior to this activity, make a number of pictures of a world map , globe and  red Xs. Divide the students into 4 groups..  Take turns asking a group a geographic question(ex: which is the largest ocean? Name a country on the continent of Europe. What is a peninsula?)  If the group give the correct answer, they get a picture of a world map or globe.  If wrong, they get a picture of an X.  Groups with correct responses can opt to get another world map or globe, or pass an X they may have earned to another team. The team with the most world maps and globes are the geographic IQ game winners! 

5. Create geography puzzlers: Have partners of students  make a geography puzzler with three facts from hardest to easiest about a mystery place in the world. Once done, have the students share their geographic puzzler with the class.  Taking turns, have the other partners try and be the first to raise their hand identifying the mystery location. For example: Clue 1. I am thinking of a place which touches the Pacific Ocean.  Clue 2: This country is an island. Clue 3:  It’s capital city is Manila. (Answer-Philippines)

6. Humpty Dumpty World Mappers: Go to the following website: Assign groups of students a puzzle on a mountain of the world(such as the Matterhorn). After completing the puzzle, go to a site such as and type in the name of the mountain. On an index card, write three facts about the mountain to share with the rest of the class on completion of the activity. Have the students go up to a world map and show the mountain’s location. Another activity would be to copy some world maps(see this link: Have 2 students cut up the map. Pass the pieces to another group. Allow time for the students to try and piece their puzzle together. Time their first attempt.  Jumble the pieces and solve the puzzle two more times and record the fastest time.

7. Geography Concentration. Have groups make up cards with geographic questions and answers on index cards(ex: Peninsula/ land surrounded by water on three sides  France / capital is Paris ) Have groups share their cards with another group. Students take turns turning over pairs of index cards to find their match.  If they find a pair, they continue their turn as long as they find pairs.

8. Country Cards: Give students a card with the following headings:  Mountain , River, Resource, Continent and Cool geography fact(such as Iran is the world’s leading exporter of pistachio nuts). Have students select a country of the world and find information to fill in the grid card.

9. How did they get that name? Just why is the NBA basketball team, the LA Lakers, called that name?  There aren’t lots of lakes in Los Angeles! Make a list of some of the major league basketball, football and baseball teams.  This site is really great to give the origin of the team’s names.  Seems that the LA Lakers originally came from Minnesota where there are LOTS of lakes. In fact, the state motto of Minnesota is “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” When the team moved, the part about lakes stayed. See if the students can brainstorm the geographic origin of some of the following teams’ names.   NY Knickerbockers(Knicks for short)(Give a hint... who first settled New York?)  Utah Jazz(Give a hint... the team originated in New Orleans) Seattle Supersonics(hint... Boeing airplane manufactures are headquartered in this state) Houston Astros(Hint ...NASA Space Center is in Houston) Indiana Pacers(hint...Indianapolis 500 is here) Denver Nuggets(Hint...What caused people to go west in 1849?)  Baltimore Ravens(Hint... Famous writer, Edgar Allan Poe lived in this city)

Fun sites to help with geography:
2. Have students check out a world webcam site such as the Eiffel Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Niagara Falls and more.
3.  Where in the World is Mrs. Waffenschmidt? 
5.  What time is it around the world.

More Geographic Resources:
  3. See Purple Annie’s Travels to China: FREE!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Diwali Starts November 6th!

This year, 2018, Diwali or Deepavali, begins on November 6th and lasts for 5 days.

It's a happy time of year and is the biggest holiday in the country of India.  Practiced mainly by people of the Hindu faith, many other people enjoy taking part in the festive holiday season,too. During the holiday, there will be gift giving,lighting lamps(Dipa lamps) special sweet treats including Laddus(sweet wheat balls with nuts and fruits inside) and Karanjis (flour fried dumplings with coconut and sugar), praying, getting together with family and friends and fireworks to help welcome the new year. Deepawali means "festival of lights". 

Fun Facts:
1. Diwali celebrates the end of the harvest season.

2. President Barack Obama was the first US president to participate in a Deepavali celebration in the White House, in 2009.

3. “Shubh Deepavali” means “Have an auspicious Diwali “and is a common greeting for this holiday time. 

4. Diwali marks the Hindu New Year. It is a national holiday in India.

5. Other countries which have Diwali celebrations include: Australia, Guyana, Trinidad, Nepal(called Tihar), Singapore, Japan, Thailand(called Lam Kriyongh) and the United States.

Learn more about Diwali at these links:

Learn about India at these links:

Make a Rangoli- Using colored rice flour and water, people decorate patterns on the ground outside their homes and place of worship. It's a way to honor the Hindu goddess Lakshimi and hope the goddess feels welcome in their homes. Use colored markers and create a colorful Rangoli pattern  See some pics:


Check out my reading passage(with fun facts and additional activities)on Diwali.There are 10 fun Facts in the complete reading activity on the holiday of Diwali. There is also a short paragraph reading with comprehension questions.  The Teacher Page has lots of extension activities and the key:



Friday, November 2, 2018

Bookmark Bios!

Click here to purchase the entire resource:

By Gail Skroback Hennessey
Recently, while watching the morning news, two of the hosts couldn’t name the
famous woman, from Rochester, NY, who helped women get the right to vote! One said, I think her name was Susan “something”. That got me thinking that Bookmark Bios might be a great way to introduce young people to many(not all) the famous women and men in history, STEM and Literature!

There are twenty women bios in this resource with 4 on a sheet.
Giving the Bookmark Bios, could be a weekly thing, perhaps as a handout for an interactive notebook, after a testing period, or as a “bell ringer” before your class instruction begins. You could print the Bookmark Bios on cardstock or colored paper, cut them out and you might consider laminating them for a more durable handout.

Additionally, the included Bookmark Bio Cards might be helpful to have the students do some critical thinking!

Bookmark Bios:
1. Women in Modern Times (History,STEM,Literature)First in the series and
offered now.
2. Women in Ancient Times( History, STEM, Literature) Coming soon
3. Men in Modern Times(History, STEM, Literature) Coming soon
4. Men in Ancient Times(History, STEM,Literature) Coming soon

Included in Women in Modern Times(1700s on):
Susan B. Anthony
Harriet Tubman 
Rosa Parks 
Amelia Earhart 
Clara Barton 
Nellie Bly
Rachel Carson 
Margaret Mead 
Marie Curie 
Elizabeth Blackwell 
Jane Goodall
Sandra Day O’Connor 

Sally Ride
Dorothea Dix 
Eleanor Roosevelt 
Hillary Clinton
Mother Teresa 
Florence Nightingale 
Hellen Keller


Saturday, October 27, 2018

King Tut Day, yes there really is such a day on the calendar, is celebrated every November 4th. It was on November 4, 1922, that Howard Carter uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamen!

Interesting facts:
1. Lord Carnarvon was bitten by a mosquito, while in Egypt and died days later. It is said that the lights in Cairo, Egypt, went out when Carnarvon died. Also, back in London, his dog is said to have started to howl and, died.  When King Tut's mummy was unwrapped, a mark was found in the same location as the mosquito bit on Lord Carnarvon. It was around this time that the idea of a curse on those that went inside the tomb began to gain in popularity!

2. One of the discoveries in the tomb, in addition to golden statues and a golden throne, jewels and chariots, was a box of UNDERWEAR for King Tut to use in the afterlife.

3. Licorice was also found in King Tut's tomb.

4. Each of King Tut's toes were individually wrapped in gold!

5. Watermelon seeds were found in King Tut's tomb. 

6. With the discovery of the tomb, all things Egyptian became very popular. Women began to wear dresses with Egyptian patterns. Songs about King Tut were written,dances created and beauty products were advertised with Egyptian themes.  This popularity in all things  ancient Egyptian was  called "Tutmania".

7. Twenty-two pounds of gold were used to make the gold mask of King Tut.


Read my article, "Mummies Share Their Secrets at Science News for Students:

Check out coloring sheets to print on King Tut at this link:  coloring sheets to print on King Tut

1. A number of people that went into the tomb died under unusual circumstances. However, the person that discovered the tomb,Howard Carter, lived a long life. So, if there was a curse(as stated on the entrance of Tut's tomb), it didn't harm Carter. WHAT might explain why some people may have died from being in the tomb, opened for the first time in centuries?

2. When Howard Carter discovered the tomb, he waited weeks for Lord Carnarvon to travel by ship to be there for the opening of the tomb. He had guards stand watch at the entrance of the tomb. He did NOT go inside. He felt that since Lord Carnarvon had funded the expedition, he should be there for the "opening". Could you have waited?

3. Do you think that people should disturb a person's tomb? Does being VERY old make it OK to do? Write a persuasive paragraph on your position. Include at least 2 reasons for your position.

4.Many mummies are on display in museums, instead of the tombs in which they were discovered. Would you like your body to be displayed in a museum for people to views?

Resources of Interest:
1.I created a play on King Tut based on the "To Tell the Truth" Game Show Format:

Learn all about the different types of mummies that have been discovered. Mummies aren't just found in ancient Egyptian culture. Mummies have been found all over the world! In fact, the oldest man-made mummies are found in the country of Chile! Mummies can be naturally created or man-made. This web quest includes the different types of mummies and has 12 web questions including information on Bog Mummies such as Tollund Man, the Inca Mummies,the Taklamakan Desert Mummies of China, Otzi, the frozen mummy, the Chinchorro Mummies of Chile, the Egyptian mummies... and more. There are comprehension questions, a Did You Know? section, a teacher section with extension activities, additional links and the key. Great for a Friday activity, at Halloween time, or if you are studying ancient Egypt.