Meaty Eyeballs And Other Gross Halloween Foods

Half the fun of Halloween is the food. From slimy jello treats to pukin’ pumpkins, It’s so easy to create some really gross foods for Halloween. Blood, brains, and guts are a snap to replicate with food.

Check out my meaty eyeballs and other frightening foods for your Halloween party spread this year.

Meaty Eyeballs

Make your favorite meatballs. Spear on a pearl onion with a toothpick and follow with a slice of olive.

 

Bloody Fingers

Use crescent refrigerator dough sheets. Roll into bent finger shapes. The nails are almond slivers.  Brush with melted garlic butter.Beat an egg in a bowl and add red food coloring. Drip on the “fingers” and bake according to package directions.

 

Mummified Franks

 

This is another trick using refrigerator rolls dough. Roll out into strings and wrap around hot dogs and then bake for about 15 minutes.

 

Creepy Salsa

For this creepy Halloween dip, simply toss some black olive slices in salsa. So easy yet so effective. I put mine in an autumn leaf-shaped bowl.

Slime Dip

Fresh homemade guacamole takes on a new look by simply calling it slime dip! Use my favorite guacamole recipe below.

Slime Dip

  • 3-4 ripe peeled, pitted avocados
  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced chili peppers
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • cilantro
  • 1 TBS lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Dice or chop ingredients as stated above.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Using Cooperative Learning In The Classroom

 

What is Cooperative Learning?

Cooperative learning is an instructional method based on past research of the theory that people who work together to achieve shared goals are more successful in achievement of goals(Alport Watson Shaw and Mead). The theory was established before the onset of World War One. Philosophers and Psychologists John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Morton Deutsh further developed the theory helping to establish it in the educational setting. Later David and Roger Johnson actively promoted the theory from 1974 to 1994. It has proven to be a popular and successful instructional method.

With the cooperative learning method, the teacher’s role becomes that of facilitator rather than just instructor. Learning occurs naturally as students interact among themselves. Students work together to create a common project or assignment by sharing opinions, knowledge, and skills. The success of each individual in the group is reliant upon the success of the whole group as a unit.

What Are the Positives of Cooperative Learning?

Research shows several positive outcomes when using cooperative learning. Studies show retention of learned material increases. Students will have greater recall of skills and facts covered in the activities.

The method has been shown to increase social skills that help students prepare for good citizenship and successful living in society. It is thought that cooperative learning can set the stage for students to experience greater success in the world of work. Most jobs and professions require employees to cooperate and work together toward a common goal.

Finally, cooperative learning encourages respect among students for one another when working in groups of varying abilities and ethnic groups. Acceptance and respect for diversity will be important all through life.

Implementing Cooperative Learning

 

Cooperative learning can be implemented in lessons in any subject and in grade levels from kindergarten to college. It can be as simple as a group brainstorming a list of writing or research topics or as complex as a project for a science exhibit.

Grouping learning disabled or other special needs students with non-disabled peers is a valid and useful accommodation. It can become a part of the student’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or 504 plan. It can be a useful way to accommodate students with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Work can be “chunked” for students to complete. A long set of math problems can be a daunting task for the ADHD student. Divided and shared between four students the task becomes more manageable for them.

Although good research exists proving the advantages of cooperative learning, educators may be finding themselves reluctant to use the method. Some claim that students socialize too much and often get off-task. They favor more direct instruction. While it is true that many students benefit more from direct instruction, cooperative learning may be well worth giving a second chance. A few strategies could help in making it successful.

The teacher will need to monitor and decide when and how to make adjustments. Do the students need to be rearranged within the groups? Is the activity either too easy or too hard? Begin with these questions. Keep in mind that motivation is a key underlying factor for learning to occur. Teachers may need to find ways to motivate students. This could be accomplished by allowing them to choose from a list of activities.

Strategies for Implementing Cooperative Learning

1. Begin with less complex tasks when first implementing cooperative learning. Pair lower ability students with higher ability.

2. Establish a set of rules within the other class rules. Make sure students understand the procedures and take a few minutes to go over them directly. Have the rules posted. Implement the same consequences for not following them as with the other class rules.

3. Keep groups small, no more than 4 to 6 students. Doing so will ensure that each member of the group will have to participate and be accountable for the finished product. Use a rubric for grading and always give grades.

4. Assigning a certain role for each member of the group will give guidance and direction making each student feel important. If they tend to argue over roles, then have them to draw numbers.

Roles to consider:

Leader- checks each member for understanding. reports problems in understanding or materials to the teacher

Recorder- records responses.

Reporter- reports findings to share with the rest of the class. reports problems in behavior to the teacher.

Monitor- can keep time for timed assignments. reminds others to stay on task.

5. Switch members of cooperative groups occasionally keeping in mind who does or does not work together well. Also switch roles occasionally.

6 Assign each student one fourth of a lesson to study. then have them take turns “teaching” their part of the lesson to the other students. Have a list of ways to share to choose from.

Ideas for sharing:

compose a song, poem or rap

draw an illustration

write a summary

give an oral report

write true/false questions for the other students to answer.

7. Students enjoy hands-on activities. Let them work together to create projects such as making a Frosty the Soap Man.Each student can be responsible for one part of creating the whole project. The leader can be responsible in making sure that each part is completed for putting the project together.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Memory Tablecloth Idea

Start a Thanksgiving Memory Tablecloth

Because of distance or travel time, Thanksgiving may be one of the few times during the year that certain loved ones can get together. Since children,grandchildren, nieces and nephews grow and change each year, this year try starting a Thanksgiving Memory Table Cloth. It is an easy and inexpensive way to create a special family keepsake.

 

Materials for Memory Table Cloth

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1. Purchase an inexpensive linen-type white table cloth

2. Fabric paint in Fall colors

3. Fabric markers

4.Large size artists brushes

Directions

Spread brown fabric paint on child’s palm and thumb with the large artist’s brush. Then carefully paint each of the four fingers a different color such as yellow,orange or green. Have child to carefully press hand palm-down on a prearranged area. Wash hand! Child then uses fabric markers to embellish the “turkey” with eyes, comb and waddle. Maybe even a little Pilgrim’s hat one year to be different. Encourage each child to express their own creativity.

Be sure to have each child use the fabric markers to add their name, date and special yearly message if desired.

Thanksgiving Memory Place Mat

A variation of the Memory Table Cloth is a Thanksgiving Memory Place Mat.Individual children can do hand prints on 11-inch by 14 inch construction paper. Use Tempera or acrylic paint rather than fabric paint. Embellish with fine pointed colored Sharpies brand markers. Cover with clear Con-tact for durability. These would make great gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Imagine how valuable your Memory Table Cloth or Place Mat will be in years to come!

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12 Terrific Ideas For a Red Ribbon Week Door Decorating Contest

 

Red Ribbon Week Door Decor

Does your school, office, or dorm have a Red Ribbon Week door decorating contest? Need some fresh ideas?

The contest comes around every year along with other activities to honor Red Ribbon Week. It comes around the same time as, you guessed it, Halloween, so it’s not unusual to see a Halloween theme incorporated in the decorations.

History of Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week is a week in late October or early November to emphasize and promote drug and violence prevention. It started slowly after the kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camereno and his pilot in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1985.

Camereno’s efforts led to the discovery of a multimillion dollar narcotics manufacturing operation. Citizens in Camereno’s hometown wore red ribbons in his honor. Clubs were started in California high schools in 1986. Club members presented Nancy Reagan, then the first lady with a proclamation.

The first official Red Ribbon Week was organized in 1988, proclaimed by Congress, and chaired by Mrs. Reagan.

 

12 Ideas for Red Ribbon Week Doors

1. Drugs will Make You Croak.
A confused frog smashed into the window.

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2. The Fortune Teller’s Crystal Ball Says it with Lights

Painted with poster paints on black paper. Your Future will be Bright if you Keep Drugs out of Sight.

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3. Warm Hugs Not Drugs

Individually decorated snowmen and snowflake cutouts

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4. Oh, The Places We’ll Go

Dr. Suess theme. The good life, drug free.

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5. Cool Ninja Turtle

Of course, he’s wearing a red bandana!

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6. Your Team Against Drugs.

Your favorite team is in the lead . Drugs score 0.

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7. Be a Lifesaver, Not a Dum Dum

Can we eat the candy later? Yes, it’s real.

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8. Drugs are a Nightmare

A Halloween theme spelled out on a big yellow moon.

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9. Don’t Be Bugged by Drugs

Spooky spiders and bats with googly eyes.

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10. Election Day is Around the Corner

The candidates are saying drug free slogans.

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11.You Only Live Once

Think twice. A powerful message personalized with photos.

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12. A Message with a Halloween theme.

The haunted house, big moon, ghosts, and bats tell the message perfectly.

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Jack-o-lantern Cheese Ball For Halloween Parties

 

Pumpkin Cheese Ball For Fall

Turn your cheese balls into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween! This cute cheese ball will delight your guests, and if you are invited to a fall potluck event, it travels well.

Simply follow a cheddar cheese ball recipe and form the cheese ball into a pumpkin shape. Tinted cream cheese will give your pumpkin cheese ball a jack-o-lantern face. A green bell pepper’s stem become’s your pumpkin’s stem.

Use this same idea all through the harvest season into Thanksgiving by leaving off the jack-o-lantern’s face.

Ingredients for Jack-o-lantern Cheese Ball
  • 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, reserve 1/4 cup
  • 1 8 oz. container chive-and-onion cream cheese
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • stem of a green bell pepper
  • black and orange (red/yellow) food coloring

 

 

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Directions for Jack-o-lantern Cheese Ball
  1. Mix all ingredients and form into a ball
  2. Chill at least 2 hours
  3. Use a piece of string or yarn to make indentations like on a pumpkin
  4. Dye about a  fourth cup of cream cheese with black and orange food coloring
  5. Put the dyed cream cheese in a sandwich bag and snip the corner.
  6. Pipe on jack-o-lantern’s face.
  7. Insert bell pepper stem at the top
  8. Serve with crackers, veggies, apple slices

Fall Themed Cupcakes: Autumn Color Frosting and Candy Acorn Toppers

Beautiful autumn color can inspire just about anything, even cupcakes. Celebrate the season with my autumn-inspired cupcakes. Granny Smith apples and spice give these cupcakes the flavor of the season. They smell wonderful while they’re baking and give the kitchen such a warm, homey feeling.

To frost your fall cupcakes, experiment with mixing just the right amounts of yellow, brown, red and orange food colors. (Brown food color is available in most specialty sections of department stores). You can create shades that mimic Mother Nature’s palette.

The acorns? They’re made with Nutter Butter minis, Hersey kisses and butterscotch morsels. Just hold everything together with a tad of creamy, sticky peanut butter.

Bake these and serve with spiced tea at your fall book club meetings, or any fall event. They are the perfect fall cupcake.

 

Ingredients for Apple Cupcakes
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Butter, melted
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 2 and 1/2 Cups All purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tps Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Cups Granny Smith apples, chopped
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
Apple Cupcakes
  1. Combine eggs, milk. melted butter and vanilla
  2. Mix sugar, flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a separate bowl
  3. Add dry mixture in the liquid ones just until moistened
  4. Fold in the chopped apples
  5. Bake in cupcake liners at 350 degrees for 18 minutes

 

 

 

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Mix until just moistened and add chopped Granny Smith apples

 

 

Fall Leaf Peak Times in the United States

Time
East Coast
Midwest
West Coast
Late September
Northernmost parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.
Central parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Colorado
Highest elvations of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho
Early October
Highest elevations in North Carolina, West Virginia and Maine, Pennsyvania
Far North New Mexico, Cenral Colorado, Western Wyoming,
Eastern Idaho, Westernmost Montana, Northernmost Arizona and Central Utah
Mid October
Western North & South Carolina, Western Virginia, Maryland & Delaware, Most of Pennsylvania, Western New York, Eastern Connecticut, Far Eastern Massachucettes and Maine,
Central & Southern Minnesota, all of Iowa, Northeastern Kansas, Southern Missouri, South and Central Wisconsin, Eastern North & South Dakota
Eastern Wyoming, Northern Arizona, Western Idaho, Central Oregon, Central Washington, North-Central California, Western Nevada
Late October
Northernmost Alabama, Mississippi & Arkansas, North Georgia, Western Virginia , Maryland & Delaware
Northeastern Oklahoma, Central Kansas, Souternmost Indiana
All but the central parts of Oregon& Washington, Lowest elevations of Northern California
Early November
Eastern Delaware, Eastern Virginia, North & South Carolina, Central & Southern Georgia & Alabama
Central & Soutern Arkansas, Central Mississippi, most of Oklahoma, Northern Texas, Western Kansas, Eastern Nebraska

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

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Leaf coloration in the fall depends on leaf pigment and weather. Longer and cooler nights in the fall spark chemical processes that paint the leaves on deciduous trees brilliant colors in many part of the world. The three types of pigments that effect color are chlorophyll (green), anthocyanins (red) and caretinoids (yellow).

Chlorophyll and caretinoids exist within the leaf all through the growing season. Anthocyanins are present in the fall due to bright light and increased plant cell sugars in the leaf cells. As the length of darkness increases in the fall, the leaf stops making chlorophyll and the other pigments take over.

Leaf color also depends on tree species. Oak leaves turn red or russet. Poplar,hickory and aspen will be golden or yellowish. Sourwood trees and certain maples will be flaming crimson. Dogwoods are a pretty purplish-red.

Weather affects the fall show of colors. The most spectacular shows follow successions of warm, sunny days and nights that are cold but not freezing.

Use A Real Pumpkin As A Planter For Fall Flowers

The Season of the Pumpkin

Pumpkins are a big part of fall and the end-of-the-year holidays from jack-o-lanterns to pumpkin pies. All around town this time of year, you can find pumpkin-flavored coffee, pumpkin ice cream and all sorts of pumpkin treats. You see them stacked by scarecrows and hay bales on lawns.

Here’s a cool idea for using pumpkins. Make a pumpkin planter for some of your fall flowers such as pansies, violas, mums and ornamental kale and cabbages. Hollow out a large pumpkin just as you would for making a jack-o-lantern. Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill will a good potting soil mixture and plant your fall plants.

Now you can enjoy your chilly weather-loving plants on the patio table or on your doorstep throughout the season. Then, depending on the growing zone you live in, plant the whole thing in the winter container garden or elsewhere. The pumpkin will then decompose, making rich soil.

How to Turn a Pumpkin into a Planter

 

  1. Choose a medium to large pumpkin.
  2. Decide what plants to use.
  3. Cut the top off the pumpkin, a little wider than for a jack-o-lantern
  4. Scrape the insides out thoroughly.
  5. Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage.
  6. Fill it about three-quarters full with a good soil mix.
  7. Arrange plants and plant them.
  8. Fill in around them with more soil.
  9. Water sparingly.

You can personalize your pumpkin planter by choosing white or green pumpkins. Use a combination of plants or simply plant a pot of mums in a large pumpkin.

Tip: If you want your pumpkin planter to last longer, scrape it out very thoroughly and coat the inside of it with petroleum jelly. Break up some charcoal briquettes and add an inch to the bottom. This way, the pumpkin will last a couple of weeks.

Plants for your Pumpkin Planter

Here are a few suggestions for what to add to your pumpkin planter. These plants can thrive outdoors and withstand frost.

  • Ornamental pepper
  • Purple Kale
  • Green Kale
  • Pansies
  • Variegated vinca
  • Black-eyed susan
  • Ornamental cabbages
  • Violas
  • Swiss Chard

Some Popular Choices for Fall Flower Gardens

Pansies

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Pansies are colorful annuals that are great for the garden all year in zones 4 to 8. They come in a lot of different colors. They like full sun. Pansies can be started in the spring from seeds. Start them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before they can be planted outdoors. Water them regularly and use an all purpose fertilizer on them.

Mums

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Mums, or chrysanthemums as they are sometimes called come in a variety of colors and sizes. These plants are perennials in zones 5-9. Fall mums sold as annuals are very inexpensive and worth the price even though they won’t bloom again next year. They come in pretty rustic colors like deep gold and burgundy. You can also get white, pink, yellow and lavender ones. They like at least 5 hours of full sun. Water and fertilize regularly.

Ornamental Cabbages and Kale

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Ornamental cabbages and kale go great in the fall garden alongside mums and pansies. They can withstand temperature drops to 15 to 20 degrees, making them excellent choices for zones 5 to 7. If you are going to experience 20 degree nights for more than a day or so, they will need to be covered with perhaps a sheet.

Can you eat ornamental cabbages and kale? Yes, but they are not very tender and they are not as tasty as the others.

Swiss Chard

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Swiss chard is grown more for its tasty health benefits for salads more than it is for ornamental purposes. But its green and purple curly leaves make it attractive to use in flower gardens. For the prettiest and freshest Swiss chard, grow your own starting in spring. Then you will have Swiss chard for salads and gourmet cooking until a hard freeze. Not to mention green and purple beauty for your fall flower garden.

Other Possible Pumpkin Planter

There are so many cool ways to use pumpkin planters. I want to do a green pumpkin with burgundy-colored mums. I also want to do a gourmet cooking one with peppers and Swiss chard. Think up your own cool pumpkin planter idea this fall! This project was a lot of fun!

DIY Arrangements Using Fall Wildflowers

 

Simple Beautiful Wildflower Arrangments

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A stroll through a park, meadow or forest is a wonderful way to unwind and get in touch with the cycle of life. Blue skies and vibrant colors on an autumn will inspire you to spice up your traditional decor this year with your imagination and what you find on your walks.

The daily grind of life often smothers our creative thinking process. Creativity is often defined as using resources available to you to produce original material and ideas. While it is resourceful to use other people’s ideas, you can gain self-satisfaction from seeing your own ideas come to life.

If you live in an area with a variety of deciduous trees that change color, collect some pretty ones and take a close-up look. You will see that most are spotted, two-toned or have a “tie-dyed” look. Take a bag with you so you can pick up the best specimens. I’ll bet you can come up with a creative way to display them. Just remember that if you are going to use them in an arrangement they will dry and crumble in a day or two so be prepared to show your display right away.

Goldenrod is a prevalent wild lower across North America that showcases in the Fall. There are several varieties, and they take the rap for aggravating allergies when it is actually ragweed that is the bad guy.

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Using Goldenrod in Arrangements

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A big bouquet of goldenrod alone in a glass container makes a tasteful centerpiece. Add a ribbon of Autumn colors or designs if desired. Depending on the region where you live, the fields are rich with an assortment of Fall wildflowers. Finding and identifying them can be a fun activity as well.

Be creative as you look around your particular region. I found that leftover blackberries dried on a fading vine added interest to my bouquets along with some yellowing wild grapevine. Learn to include what is indigenous to your region.

After your walk, look around your home for glass vases, old watering cans, and other containers to creatively display your finds. Acorns seed pods, red berries, small pine cones and other natural objects can be placed in glass jars to display.

Fall Art Projects

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When I was a child we pressed our leaves between sheets of wax paper with a warm iron to help preserve them. Nowadays we can take this process a step further with clear Contact brand plastic sheeting. A great project to do with kids is to create leaf place mats for Thanksgiving.

 

Other ideas for preserved leaves include mobiles or sun catchers. Follow directions for making a mobile and use your leaf cut-outs. Purchase small suction cups at a craft store and glue to your leaf cut-outs for some unique suncatchers. How impressed your guests will be to see real leaves as sun catchers in a sunny window!

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Be Creative,Be Green

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What I have attempted to relate by sharing my projects is that by opening up to the natural resources around us we can help our creative juices flow. I have often found it satisfying to use others’ ideas as a springboard to come up with personalized projects.My projects will not look exactly like theirs because I have used my own resources. And unlike plastic decorations, natural items are mostly free and always a sustainable choice. Being a good steward to Earth is one more thing to feel good about. Happy Autumn!

You may also like this idea for a simple, sustainable wreath.

 

Thanksgiving Thematic Unit Ideas Social Studies

Thanksgiving History and Geography.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to teach elementary kids some American history right along with a good dose of geography. Clever art projects can be incorporated into lessons to help children understand and appreciate our country’s early beginnings.

The Mayflower’s Journey

globe

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to teach the continents and oceans. Use globe and map worksheets to discuss how the Pilgrims left England on the continent of Europe to cross the Atlantic Ocean and settle in a new land in North America.  Learning about the globe is more meaningful when connected to this lesson in history.

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Mayflower Craft Project

This mayflower craft project will inspire learning fun facts about the Mayflower’s journey. According to ability, students can research and list amazing facts or write reports about the journey, like how long it took, what they ate and drank, and more. Need sentences for grammar and mechanics practice? Use the facts as sentences on worksheets.

Materials:

  • brown paper lunch bag
  • straw
  • white paper
  • glue
  • a little play dough

How to make:

Cut a boat shape out of a brown paper bag. Cut so the fold in the bag is on the bottom and it will stand up. Anchor a drinking straw in the middle with a wad of play dough. Cut holes in the white rectangle sails with a hole punch. Thread them onto the straw. Filling the boat with shredded paper bag will fluff it out and help it stand.

Thanksgiving History and Life in the Colonies

Maps of the first colonies help blend geography and history. Students learn the name and location of the 13 original colonies that eventually sprang up thanks to the Pilgrims’ voyage.

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Making a Hornbook

Studying life in the colonies fascinates students. Teach them about the one-room school and how they used hornbooks. Hornbooks were made of wood. They displayed the alphabet, numerals,  and bible verses. Young students wore them around their neck.

Materials:

  • construction paper
  • glue
  • marker
  • hole puncher
  • string

How to make

Cut a hornbook shape from light and dark brown paper. Students use markers to write letters and numbers. Punch a hole in the hornbook’s handle for a string.

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 Thanksgiving History and the Native Americans

Native American tribes are divided into regions. Learning the regions can be incorporated into US map skills. Older students will like doing research to learn the names of the different tribes in each region.

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Thanksgiving History Totem Pole Project

Totem poles are so interesting! They were made by the Pacific Coastal Indians mostly from redwood. They used natural dyes to make paint and painted pictures of animals and nature to tell stories. They were like “books” to these early tribes. Students can construct their own totem poles and write a story about them. Help them look up images of totem poles for ideas.

Materials:

  • empty paper towel roll
  • colored construction paper
  • glue
  • scissors

How to Make:

Cut out shapes from construction paper. Students can use them to make totem pole images. Glue strips of paper around the “totem pole” and then add features. Older or more capable students can cut out their shapes.

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Native American Dreamcatcher Project

Pretty dreamcatchers were fashioned by Native Americans and hung above where they slept. They believed dreams were filtered by the colorful webs and bad dreams were trapped in them. What better way is there than this for inspiration to write about good and bad dreams kids remember. An interesting way to deal with dreams!

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Materials:

  • paper plates
  • craft feathers
  • plastic craft beads
  • skein of multi-colored yard
  • hole puncher

How to Make:

Cut paper plate so it is only a rim. Punch evenly spaced holes in the rim. Students thread the yarn on a bobby pin to act as a needle. They then lace the yarn through. Add a few beads and tie a knot to hold them in place.  Punch a few holes closely together at the bottom. Add strings and use hot glue to glue on craft feathers.

Books For Learning About Early America


Advantages Of The Flipped Classroom: The Latest Technology For Teachers

 

What is a Flipped Classroom?

All across the nation and beyond, teachers are experimenting with flipping the classroom. No, not literally like this silly photo. They are flipping instruction. The basic concept is quite simple. Homework gets done in the classwork while class instruction occurs at home.

With the flipped classroom concept, the teacher becomes less of a “sage on the stage” and more of a “guide on the side.” This is done by having students watch pre-recorded lessons on screen or podcasts online at home. The next day, class lecture time is freed up to have the students put their newly acquired knowledge into practice.

Technology in the Classroom

Technology has changed the way we do everything, and education is no exception. Flipping the classroom can be as simple or as elaborate as the teacher wants to make it.

Low-tech teachers can flip classroom instruction with a simple-made video he or she makes, or choose one from shared files. High-tech teachers will explore software and technologies to enhance the flipped classroom learning experience.

This enhancement can be in the way of shareware such as Edmodo or learnspace. These sites are like having facebook accounts private to you and your students. Teachers can post quizzes, due dates, etc. on line. Students can post and form groups for working on projects together. Files too large to share by email can be sent.

Videos can be viewed on computers, laptops, iPads Smartphones, etc. Students with no computer access (rare these days) can be given a spot in the classroom, computer lab or media center. This is also a good place for students who may need to review the material while in school.

 

Advantages of Flipped Instruction

Flipped instruction can be used in almost any classroom to a degree. Just remember the basic concept. Classroom instruction becomes homework and homework becomes classroom work. This frees up much time for active learning in the classroom. Teachers can plan hands-on activities for students that will allow them to develop higher-order thinking skills. Some of the ways to actively engage students in the classroom after viewing lectures on a video are as follows.

  • class discussions
  • debates
  • think-pair-share
  • cooperative learning
  • surveys and polls
  • graphing and displaying data
  • visual arts projects
  • low or high tech presentations
  • experiments
  • research projects

Unlike classroom lectures, online lessons can be reviewed from as far back as the beginning of the lesson if necessary. They can even be reviewed before major exams. Parents will love having the change in homework. Struggling through trying to work problems or answer questions about forgotten classroom lectures are eliminated. They can even view the videos themselves in order to be better able to help children understand the lesson content.

Although the flipped classroom is relatively new, results of studies are showing improvements across the board from better test scores to lowered drop-out rates in schools that have implemented flipped instruction.

 

Who Gets Credit for Flipped Instruction?

Two chemistry teachers from Woodland Park High School in Woodland Park, Colorado, Johnathon Bergmann, and Aaron Sams are credited with the seed that planted the idea of the flipped classroom.

The two teaching buddies collaborated often on ways to deliver instruction. In 2007, they discovered software that allowed them to share Powerpoint presentations for students who had missed instruction.

This grew into the idea of presenting lecture online and follow-up work in the classroom.

Setting the ground work, Eric Mazur developed peer instruction back in the 1990s. He used computer-aided instruction to coach instead of lecture,

In 2000, Lage, Platt and Treglia published “Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment”.

Beginning in the fall of 2000, the University of Wisconsin used tutoring videos as part of their instruction in a computer sciences course. In 2011, two centers were built at the Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning to study and promote flipped classrooms.

Tips for Flipping the Classroom

  1. Provide opportunities for students to gain exposure before the lecture video. This can be as simple as textbook reading or Youtube video or as technical as a Powerpoint presentation or podcast. This serves as an anticipatory set for the lesson.
  2. Provide incentives that will motivate students to prepare for class. Give points or privileges for completing the pre-class activity.
  3. Include informative assessment to evaluate student understanding throughout the lesson. This can be done with online quizzes, paper/pencil quizzes, written responses to essay-type questions and other informal assessments.
  4. Use informal assessments for forming groups and peer tutoring teams.
  5. Use activities following the videos that include higher-level critical thinking skills. Find activities that cause them to evaluate, summarize and synthesize newly learned information,
  6. Use strategies that incorporate student-to-student learning such as peer tutoring, cooperative learning, and think-pair-share.

Sample Plan for Flipped Instruction

The objective is to understand and apply the scientific method. Students will identify dependent variable, independent variable, control group, hypothesis,

 

  1. Build motivation and create a “hook” for anticipating learning with a Powerpoint presentation or textbook reading. Include a short quiz either online or with pencil/paper. Whatever your level of technology is at this point. Don’t worry, there is no need to be a techie to do this. Give points for completing the presentation.
  2. Create or import a lesson/lecture on the basics of the scientific method. It’s a good beginning.It is best if you make these videos yourself, but it’s OK to use other videos Check for understanding with a quiz, online or paper/pencil.
  3. Review with questioning at the beginning or class
  4. Assign directions for a project:
  5. Purpose: Create a lab to demonstrate the scientific method using a simple paper airplane.
  6. Make a hypothesis: Decide on a plan and make a prediction based on the procedure you have developed to use the paper airplane.
  7. Develop a plan that demonstrates the scientific method. Try to create a table and a graph to record collected data. Have students do 10 trials.
  8. Have students write two paragraphs analyzing collected data.

Final Thoughts on Flipping the Classroom

Have fun with this cool new idea. Start off slowly if you are “tech shy.” Just remember the basic idea of the flipped classroom, and it will make sense. It could turn your teaching right side up and make more sense to you and your students.

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