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Showing posts from December, 2015

A Big Bucket of Fabric

Do you know what makes my students really, really, really happy?

Nothing makes my students happier than a big bucket of fabric!  If you have a bucket of fabric you have unlimited costumes and imagination!
I have been having kids make plays or videos for all of my 18 years but I never saw the power of the fabric bucket till I went to my new school.  The fabric bucket does not belong to me but is actually shared among teachers and used for Hammurabi plays, Greek God skits, and vocabulary videos.  I have the biggest classroom so I get physical ownership of it and I am lucky!
The fabric is old sheets, drapes, sashes, and rope.  It has turned my kids into Babylonians, women on the Oregon Trail, and the red fabric can be wrapped to become a Redcoat.  When I mention the use of the bucket the kiddos start frothing at the mouth so I often have to hold off on costumes until plays and videos are written and rehearsed.  Once they get their hands on it, though, they become giggly little kids agai…

Google Earth, Maps, and most importantly CARDBOARD!!!!

Okay, so when I get a thought in my head I am all in and it becomes a passion.  This week my passion was immersive geography.  In our Language Arts classes we are reading a fabulous book called The Years of Zero by Seng Ty.


It is a wonderful story about life in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge and was written by a guidance counselor in my district.  About 20% of the students in my district are Cambodian so this book is an important memoir for us.  Many of the parents, of my students, grew up in refugee camps in Thailand so the families never go back to Cambodia.
I wanted them to see the natural beauty of that country so first I created a Google Earth field trip.  I then decided that I was going to test the field on ancient Mesopotamia since we were launching that unit in class.  It was wonderful!  I used Google Earth, Google Maps and Google Cardboard to tour Iraq.  As students were on their field trip they had to take notes on what their senses might experience.  The culmination was c…