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, March 29, 2018

Gail Skroback Hennessey
April 16th is Save the Elephant Day

If you'd like this Possible Interactive Notebook download, go to this link:

1. Did you know that elephants can be right or left tusked, similar to how humans are with their hands?

2. Quickly waving of ears, twirling of its trunk and blowing dirt are signs of an angry elephant!

3. The elephant has the largest brain of the animal world. They are very intelligent! 

4. Elephants can show many emotions including joy, anger, playfulness and grief with the death of a family member

5. Surprisingly, peanuts are NOT a favorite food of elephants.

6. The world’s largest LAND mammal, elephants eat about 300-600 pounds of food every day. They are herbivores, non-meat eaters.

7. Elephants live in families with females being the head of the heard(called a matriarch). There can be as few as 8 or as many as 100 in a group.

8. Did you know the elephant can use its trunk as a “snorkel” making it possible to swim in deep water.

9. In the last 100 years, the number of  Asian elephants in the wild have declined by about 90%  due to habitat destruction and  killing for their  ivory tusks.

10. Elephant throw dirt onto their backs to prevent getting sunburned.

11. Did you know that ever 15 minutes a poacher kills an African elephant?

12. Of the two, Asia and African, there are much less Asia elephants left in the wild.

13. Elephants make a sub-sonic rumble sound to communicate over long distances. The feet and trunks are very sensitive and other elephants can feel the sound being sent over the ground.

14. The word, jumbo, comes from the circus animal by that name. It means “large” or “huge”.

15. Elephants walk on average about 4 mph but can actual run up to 24 miles per hour!

16. The skin of an elephant is about 1 inch thick.

17. An elephant tusk can be as long as 10 ft. and weigh over 200 pounds.

18. Elephants are one of the few animals that can recognize itself in the mirror.

19. There are 40,000 muscles, but no bones in an elephant’s truck.

20. Did you know that an elephant tooth can weigh up to 12 pounds? 
Teacher Page:
March 2018: Donald Trump's administration will allow the importing of elephant "trophies" such as their tusks by big game hunters(such as his sons). Ask kids what they think of this idea.

Extension Activities to Use with Your Students:
* Have students write a letter to a parent, grandparent, etc. to spread the word of the dwindling number of elephants. Include 3 facts about the elephant in the letter.
* Draw a picture of an elephant. Write 3 facts about elephants on the picture.
* Write a poem about an elephant using all the letters in the word, elephant, or write a haiku.
* Read a story about elephants:  The Blind Men and the Elephant.

Links for teachers to share with students: Children’s efforts to stop ivory and destroy stockpiles of Ivory in Hong Kong

I also have web quests on the Rhino, Polar Bear and the Leopard.

*Photograph from

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

April Fool's Day: Great Opportunity to discuss FAKE News and Bullying and to Show that EVERYTHING has a History!

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! April Fool's Day is a great opportunity to discuss and identify FAKE NEWS.  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...

Use this time to start a discussion on FAKE NEWS: This resource works well with my April Fool's Day Resource:

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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

World Water Day is March 22nd- Possible Interactive Notebook to Use with Kids


World Water Day!
March 22, 2019
Possible Interactive Notebook Activity

Water actually has a day when people focus on just how important water is to all of us. World Water Day is March 22nd. In 2019, the theme for world Water Day is “Leaving No One Behind”. The organization says the focus for the day is  “exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.”

Did You Know?
1. Our planet is about 75% water.  Yet, less than 2% is able to be used by humans. Can you think of two reasons why most water is NOT available for human use?_____________ and  ____________

2. A jellyfish is almost 95% water!  A human body is made up of about 66% water.

3. Shutting off the water while brushing teeth saves about 4 gallons of water. For some people on the planet, that is a week’s supply of water. What are two ways to conserve(save) water?____________ and _____________

4. The water you are drinking is the same water that the dinosaurs
We don’t have any “new” water on the planet. It just keeps getting recycled. Can you name the three stages of the water cycle?____________   __________   ______________

5. Scientists say that in a 100 year time period, a molecule of water spends 98 years in the ocean, 20 months as ice and just 2 weeks in rivers and lakes. It spends only about 1 week in the atmosphere.

6. In 1996 , NASA announced that water, in the form of ice, was found on the moon, near the South Pole. 

7. Did you know that hot water freezes more quickly than cold water? This is called the Mpemba Effect. Scientists aren’t sure why this is the case.

8. Water is the only substance on the Earth that has three stages. Can you name them?____________  ________   _________

9.. Water is made up of just two elements, hydrogen and oxygen.

10. Pure water doesn’t have any smell or taste. Other than for drinking, can you think of three uses of water?___________  ______________  ___________ 

11. Can you name the room in a house that uses the most water?____________

Your Turn:
  1. Illustrate one of the facts.
  2. Pretend to be a water drop and write about a day in your life.
  3. What are three ways you can conserve water in your daily life?

Teacher’s Page:
Before doing the activity, ask the students to share prior knowledge on the topic of water. Give the students the Did You Know? Fact Sheet. Regroup and discuss.

Additional Activities:
1. Teachers may find some information at this link of value to use with kids:

2.  Brainstorm with kids ways to save on water, then show this page and have students illustrate a water conservation tip.

4. Learn about the water cycle:

Check out these related resources:
  1. Studying the ocean? Looking for a resource for Earth Day or World Ocean Day? Introduce your students to Jacques Cousteau with this informative Reader's Theater Script. Oceanographer, photographer, scientist, inventor, writer and filmmaker, Cousteau spent his life studying the oceans and the marine life that lived in the oceans. Part of my Ms. Bie Ografee Talk Show Series where Jacques Cousteau is a guest on her talk show and answers questions of her studio audience. There are 10 audience questioners, a Did You Know? section, comprehension questions, a teacher section with extension activities, links and the key:
2. Exploring the Ocean Blue: A Web quest, will introduce students to our oceans. There are nine informative web questions. Fun Facts, comprehension questions,extension activities and links are also provided as is the key.

3.  Learn about Earth Day and our planet Earth, with this informative web quest! In 2018, the theme for Earth Day is “Environmental and Climate Literacy”. Although this resource could be used for Earth Day, it really could be used throughout the year. There are 15 web questions as well as comprehension questions and a Did You Know? fun fact section. The teacher page includes extension activities, the key, and additional links.
1.   salty and frozen 5.evaporation, condensation and precipitation 9.  liquid, solid and gas
11. cooking, energy, farming, fun 12. bathroom(toilet,shower,bathtub,faucet)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

St. Patrick's Day is Coming: Ireland, An Interactive Notebook Activity

Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day
Did You Know? 
Gail Skroback Hennessey
Click here for the free downloadable version:
Hope you find this of appreciated.

1. The National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin, Ireland, is dedicated to the folklore and mythology of Ireland. 
2. In Irish folklore, there are only male leprechauns. Leprechauns are cobblers(shoemakers) and they usually carry a tiny hammer wherever they go!
3. Ireland was the very first country in the world to tax plastic bags.(2002) 
4. Muckanaghederdauhaulia is the name for the longest place name in Ireland. 
5.  A burial tomb found near Dublin, Newgrange, may be older than the pyramids of Egypt,and was built about 4000 BC or BCE. 
6. The Irish monk, St. Brendan, may have reached North America before Columbus, in the 6th century. 
7.  Halloween has its origins in Ireland. It dates back to Samhain, an Irish festival. 
8. Famous people from Ireland include the lead singer for U2(Bono), Jonathan Swift(author of Gulliver’s Travels), writer C.S. Lewis(Chronicles of Narnia) and poet, William Butler Yeats 

9. Did you know that corned beef and cabbage, a favorite food on St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have any corn? The term refers to a large type of salt(called “corns”) used to marinate the beef.

10. Hurling is a very popular sport which originated in Ireland.
11. There are NO snakes in the country of Ireland. 

12. Since the Bronze Age, Ireland has had their own type of Olympics Games. They are called the Tailteann Games. 

13. Leprechaun Day is May 13th.(YES…there is such a day!)

14. The Flag of Ireland has the colors green, white and orange. 
The harp is the musical symbol of Ireland.

15.  The language of Ireland is called Irish(Gaelic). There isn’t a word for “yes” or “no” in Irish.

16. People who visit Blarney Castle, in Ireland, often try to kiss the Blarney Stone. The legend says kissing the stone gives you the gift of being a great speaker. It’s a difficult thing to do as you have to hang upside down to reach the stone!

17. The first St. Patrick’s Day in the United States was celebrated in the city of Boston, 1737.

18. Ireland is called the Emerald Isle because Ireland has lots of green fertile land.

Your  Turn:
  1. Write down the 3 most interesting facts you learned.
  2. Create a postcard pretending you are visiting Ireland. Include 3 facts learned in the information you are writing to a friend or relative. Draw/ color a picture to go with your postcard.
  3. Would you wish to kiss the Blarney Stone? Why or why not? 
  4. Would you kiss the Blarney Stone? Why or why not?

    Teacher’s Page:

    1. Before giving the students the factoid handout, ask the students to share prior knowledge about the country of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.

    2. Show the students a map of Ireland:  Have students make 4 questions using the map to exchange with another group.

    3. Have small groups of students review information on the country of Ireland and share 5 facts with the rest of the class.

    4. Learn some Irish: 
    A. Phrase: Thank you
    Irish: Go raibh maith agat
    Pronunciation: Guh row mah aguth (row as in cow)

    B. Phrase: You're welcome
    Irish: Tá fáilte romhat
    Pronunciation: Thaw foil-cheh roath

    C. Phrase: Hello
    Irish: Dia dhuit
    Pronunciation: Djee-ah gwitch

    5. St. Patrick's Day is coming-a wonderful opportunity to introduce your students to the country of Ireland. Did you know that the Celtic knot is a very famous symbol of Ireland? Learn more about Ireland with my fun and informative web quest on Ireland includes 12 questions and lots of extension activities:

    6. Another resource about Ireland to consider:This fun/informative play has Ms. Bie Ografee's guest being McSean, a leprechaun. McSean is asked questions by the studio audience about the country of Ireland and the long Irish folklore about leprechauns. Great for a unit on folk stories/folklore or as an activity around St. Patrick's Day. The play has 11 questioners, a Did You Know? section, comprehension questions, a teacher page with extension activities and links as well as the key:

    7. The Green Game: Need a fun activity where kids have to find answers that have the word GREEN in it or are the color GREEN? Great for St. Patrick's Day or for a Friday.
    NOTE: This resource is INCLUDED in my Ireland Webquest/Activity Resource: