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:

Thursday, September 27, 2018

October is National Bullying Prevention Month!

October is National Bullying Prevention Month! 

Although highlighted in this month, anti-bullying awareness should be practiced every day of the year.  If you SEE bullying taking place, SPEAK UP!   Possible activities to use with students to discuss the topic of bullying.
Click here for a free downloadable version: Interactive Notebook Activity:

1. Check out this short video at the Cartoon Network about joining the "I Speak Up" campaign.

2. Have kids read this short saying: "Sticks and stones may break your bones but names can never hurt you."  Is this a true statement? Explain your answer. Personally, I never thought this saying to be true. Words are very powerful and negative words can and do hurt....a lot!  

3. Discussion Questions to ask Students:
A. What is your definition of a bully?  What are some examples of bullying?
B. Why do you think some people are bullies?
C. If you see someone being bullied, what could YOU do?
D.  If YOU are being bullied, what could YOU do?
E. Have you ever been bullied? How did you feel? What did you do?
F. Have YOU ever bullied someone else? Have you ever been asked by others to join them in bullying someone else? How did you react to this? Take the "Are YOU Bulling Checklist":

G. How can you HELP someone that is being bullied. Make a list. Check with this site:

4. A great start to discussing bullying might be to read about Hans Christian Andersen, the author of "The Ugly Duckling". Hans was often teased as a boy. He was very tall and skinny. He was called "scarecrow" by neighborhood children. One day, he actually climbed a tree to get away from bullies who were chasing him. Then, he got tangled and stuck. His father had to come help get Hans out of the tree.  Check out my resource, a play on Hans Christian Andersen:

5. Have students make anti-bullying posters.

6. Have students make up a skit about bullying to share with the rest of the class.

7. Coloring sheets on the topic of bullying: 

8. Check out this link for lots of great information on Anit-Bullying:

9. Check out this site for "Bullying Myths and Facts". Have students discuss what they read:

10. Check out this link for lots of information on anti bullying information and activities:

11. Another informative site for teachers to use to discuss bullying and antibullying with students

Other suggestions:
Using Literature to discuss the issue of bullying:
Read the story, the Ugly Duckling to start a discussion on bullying.

Another story to read is Goose Girl by the Brothers Grimm. Find the story
at this link:

Still another story is Cinderella.Find the story online at this link:

There are also many contemporary books that deal with bullying. Here is a small sampling for elementary and middle school students:
1. Blubber by Judy Blume
2. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
3. Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
4. Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain by Trevor Romain and Elizabeth Vedick.
5. The Bully from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler with Jared Lee.
6. My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
7. Roxie and the Hooligans by Phillis Reynolds Naylor
Find more books on bullying and read summaries at this link:

Read and listen to a short story about bullying online at this link:
(Ramone Sticks Up for Himself)


I hope you find this information of value to use with your students!
Gail Hennessey

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Supreme Court Begins its New Session the First Monday in October

Oyez, Oyez...The Supreme Court begins its new session the first Monday of October. Used by the Supreme Court Marshall to call the Supreme Court to order, the word OYEZ means “Hear Ye”. The word originates from the Latin word which means “to hear”. The Supreme Court hears a number of cases each year in which questions to the Constitution are raised. 

Did You Know?
1. Only one president did not get the opportunity to name a Supreme Court Justice. That was Jimmy Carter.
2. There is an indoor basketball court at the Supreme Court Building. It is called the “Highest Court in the Land” and is located on the fifth floor.
3. Since 1969, there have been 9 justices on the Supreme Court. However, Congress can change this number to be more or less justices.
4. Justice Clarence Thomas has a record for being the only Supreme Court Justice to remain totally silence, not asking any questions or making any statement, on the
bench, for seven years. Appointed to the Supreme Court in 1991, Thomas spoke, from the bench, for the first time in 2013.
5. Is a pickle a vegetable or a fruit? This was one of the decisions the Supreme Court determined in Nix v. Hedden. The court determined it is the seeds that classify the pickle as a “fruit of the vine”.
6. Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life. WHY do you think this is the case?____________________
7. You DON'T have to be a lawyer to be named to the Supreme Court.
8. Should a president be IMPEACHED(a trial to determine whether a President has committed actions which could remove the President from office), the Supreme Court Chief Justice presides over the trial.
9. President Taft is the only President to go on to become a Supreme Court Justice.
10. SCOTUS is an acronym for Supreme Court of The United States.

This web quest will introduce students to the Supreme Court. There are 10 web questions, a Did You Know? section and comprehension questions. Additionally, there are several extension activities and additional links as well as the key.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15-October 15th

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from September 15-October 15th. It was originally established, in 1969, as Hispanic Heritage Week, by President Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, it became a month long celebration. Some people say we don't really need an Hispanic Heritage Month, A Black History Month, A Womens History Month, A Native American Heritage Month and other such months to recognize the achievements of groups which have helped to make this nation great.  I believe we do since history books just cant address all the different accomplishments of all the people that have contributed to making our country what it is today. Here are some interesting facts to share with your students during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Did You Know?
• Before colonists settled Plymouth Colony, there were people living in St. Augustine, Florida, and Sante Fe, New Mexico.
• Chinese(Mandarin) is spoken by the most people in the world. The second most spoken language is Spanish. A close third is... English.
• The majority of Hispanic people in the United States came from the country of Mexico.
• Pedro Flores was the first to mass-produce the yo yo in the United States.
• in 1989, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen became the first Cuban American to become a member of Congress.
• Learn some Spanish: gracias(Thank you), por favor) (Please)and adios(goodbye)
• Cinco de Mayo(May 5th) is a festive holiday. It celebrates the victory over the French in the Battle of Pueblo(1862). The Mexicans were outnumbered 3-1, yet they won the battle. 
• Have you ever played with a pinata at a birthday party? This is another activity that has its origins in Mexico.  

Check out my webquest, Histanic Heritage Month.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

International Peace Day is September 21st

Perhaps, you will find this helpful to use on the International Day of Peace:

The International Day of Peace is held every year on  September 21st. Also called Peace Day, the first celebration was adopted by the United Nations in 1982. It would be in 2001, that nations of the world established September 21st as International Day of Peace. In 2018, the theme for the  International Day of Peace is “The Right to Peace”.  At the United Nations, in New York City, the Japanese Peace Bell is rung to start the day. Made from coins collected by children from sixty countries,  the Peace Bell has the following words engraved on the bell, “Long live absolute world peace”.  There is a minute of silence at noon(at all time zones around the world).

Possible Activities for the International Day of Peace:
1. The dove is the international symbol of peace. Draw/ color a picture of a dove. Write a statement about the International Day of Peace.

2. Write an acrostic poem using the words PEACE.

3. Have students list some of the places in the world where there is conflict. Locate these places on a world map. Ask the students if they have any prior knowledge about the areas .

4. Alfred Nobel established the Nobel Peace Prize.  

Learn about some of the people that have been award recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. The youngest was teenager, Malala Yousafzai.

5. Make a Peace Pole(“May Peace Prevail on Earth) and place in the lobby of your school.

6. Read Sadako Sasaki and her One Thousand Paper Cranes. Free online book:   Make an origami paper crane.

8.Share with kids how to say "PEACE" in many different languages: Write Peace In Different Languages

9. Check out my Purple Turtle story, Purple Meets Dovey, the Dove:

10. Illustrate one of these quotes: Write a short paragraph explaining what they think the quote means.
A. “ Peace begins with a smile. “ Mother Teresa

B. "You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.“ Indira Gandhi
C.  "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”  Nelson Mandela

D.  "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”  Mahatma Gandhi
E.  “It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it." Eleanor Roosevelt

F.  "While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”  Francis of Assisi

G.  “If you want peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”  Archbishop Tutu

Gail Hennessey

Note: Illustration from

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Constitution Day is Coming(September 17th)

Constitution Day
Gail Skroback Hennessey

Each year, Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17th. This is the date, in 1787, when delegates to the Constitutional Convention, signed the Constitution. They had met for 116 days, at the State House(now called Independence Hall), in Philadelphia, PA. If Constitutional Day falls on a Sunday, as it did in 2017, the official observation is the following day. Constitution Day is also called Citizenship Day.  It’s a day to celebrate this important document of our nation!
Did You Know?
1. Did you know that Ben Franklin arrived at the Grand Convention in Philadelphia on a sedan chair? Four prisoners from the local Philadelphia jail carried Franklin on the chair.

2. Before deciding on Mr. President, names for George Washington, the first leader of the United States, included “His Most Benign Highness” and “His Highness, the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.”

3. Philadelphia, the largest and most modern of cities at the time of the Convention, had a population of 40,000.  Gravel was used to cover the cobblestone streets to make it less noisy for the meetings.

4. It took 116 days to complete the draft of the document called the Constitution.

5. To date, only ONE amendment to the constitution has been removed(repealed). The 18th Amendment(1918) which abolished the making, sale and transportation of alcohol, was repealed in 1933.

6. Each night, the Constitution is lowered into a specially made vault for its protection.

7. George Washington announced the first national “Thanksgiving Day”, November 26, 1789, to “give thanks” for the creating of the Constitution.

8. The words “democracy” and “God” do not appear in the document of the Constitution.

9. Eighty-one year old Ben Franklin cried as he signed the Constitution.

10. James Madison, who would become the 4th President of the United States, was called the “Father of the Constitution”. 
Teacher Page:
Things to do:
  1. Have students pretend they are the Constitution on display at the National Archives. Tell a day in your life as people come to see you. What do you hear? See? feel?

  1. Enter the Constitution Day Poster Contest:Postmarked by Oct. 1, 2018:

3.  This link explains the Bill of Rights  for kids:  Groups of students could be assigned one of the rights and make a poster.  Have students write a paragraph explaining which right they feel is most important and why.

4. Have students create posters or greeting cards for Constitution Day.
Website of Interest: