My holiday has been filled with food, family, and working on a new interactive notebook. These babies really take a lot of time to churn out, so be patient with me.

My father -in-law, who is a great guy, has been diagnosed with lymphoma.
He is a Vietnam Vet. My husband took him to the doc this morning for a cat scan, and his (my father-in-law's) facebook comment was, "I got this."

How great is that? Brave...I commend him. Pray for his well-being.

The good news is--my Industrialization and Imperialism Interactive Notebook will be ready in time for the big sale on the 31st and the 1st. And at 20% off! All of my products will be on sale both days, right along with other fantastic secondary teacher's products:

Secondary teachers were ready to bring in 2015 with this halfway there sale! Read all about my newest interactive notebook (at that time) and get some other ideas for things you might want to add to your cart!
Check It Out!
Here's a sample from my latest interactive notebook:

Marx and Smith Primary Source Analysis
See it Here!

Working on this one (and all of them) has been a long journey. They are time consuming, but completely worth it. My students' morale has increased right along with their scores. Seriously, their scores were great this year, and I had parents tell me that they plan to keep these notebooks for good. Ah, don't we all keep a memory box? There's something about being able to say, "Flip to page such and such," and there it is in a history class, right until the end.

Now, if I can just get through Unit 12....

Speaking of the sale (from Dec. 31-Jan 1), I'm, not the only one involved. There are other fantastic teachers with amazing products. Here are a couple of free samples below:

Here's a great freebie from Created By Mr Hughes, perfect for thinking about those New Years Resolutions!:

2015 New Year's Resolutions and Goals Mobile
Check This Out!
Here's another fantastic new year's freebie from Addie Williams, ideal for helping your students to set their goals for 2015:

New Year's Resolutions Writing Activity
Perfect for the New Year!!
Here's a wonderful writing activity from Tracee Orman, complete with graphics and a foldable, that also encourages students to consider their goals for 2015:

2015 New Year Activities
Here it is!

For all of you social studies teachers out there, here's a graphic organizer from Michele Luck's Social Studies that I know I'll be using in my own classroom:

SPRITE Graphic Organizer
Find it Here!
Here's a research project from Juggling ELA over Greek Mythology, perfect for English or social studies:

Greek Mythology Research Assignment
Get it Here!

And, finally, if you're tired of boring writing from students, here's a freebie from Connie that teaches them to show instead of tell with their writing:

Just Say No to Dull Writing
Click Here!

Enjoy the new year's freebies, and be sure to check out the upcoming sale on the 31st and the 1st! 

Let me know how your holidays are going in the comments below. And be sure to check back next week for more freebies and ideas!

Until then,

Yes, it is confusing...the holiday break. I, once again, awoke on the first morning of the break to the scratchy-throat-ed awareness that I was sick.

The holiday break is finally here - hooray! That is, until you wake up sick. While some of us may spend more holiday breaks than not recovering from illness, here are some free resources to help make your life a little easier!

I have a mile-long to do list each holiday, and each holiday, I get sick. I wallow on the couch, occasionally trying to get something done, but eventually succumbing to sleep. My son dances around me, asking if he can please have a coke or play "Grand Theft Auto."

That's the point when I lift my heavy head off the couch, croak a bleary "No!" and go back to sleep. I always awaken to him wasting his holiday away on Mincraft and cartoons.

Why does this happen every year? I don't know, but I've spoken to many other teachers who often endure the same fate. Someone once told me, "We hold it together, and then we collapse."


Teaching is a great, family-friendly profession that allows for great hours and a LOT of time off.

But the time off is spent recuperating from and preparing for the whirlwind race that is the school year.

So here's to the holidays and making a teacher's life easier. Free stuff for your classroom below. Try not to write any lessons for the next week, and happy holidays!

From me, here's a free (for a limited time) lesson on analyzing primary sources. There are activities, a PowerPoint, and cloze notes.

Primary Source Analysis
Click Here!
Here are a set of free reading task cards from Jessica Tobin:

Self-Checking Story Element Cards
Click Here!
Here is a wonderful free Shakespeare Scavenger Hunt from Juggling ELA:

Shakespeare Scavenger Hunt
Click Here!
Or try this free clip art, perfect for Presidents' Day from Charlotte's Clips:

Presidents Day Clip Art
Click Here!

Enjoy, and let me know how your holiday is going in the comments below!

Stay tuned next week for my latest world history interactive notebook reveal and yet more fantastic freebies.

Until then,
This is how we usually test in my classroom:

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

We break out the dividers, and close ourselves off. Talking is a cardinal sin, and we look down, down, down. That's how testing should be, right? Well...yes. Most of the time.

But last week, we tried something new. Collaborative testing.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Notice, the dividers are stacked against the wall, and interactive notebooks are out. This is not a strategy I would use often, but I will use it occasionally. Here's why:

1. The students were focused.
2. They discussed questions.
3. They searched for answers.
4. In several cases, they chose not to answer as their partner did, but they explained why.

In short, they considered and discussed each response.

It was astounding to watch. I believe using it too often would cause the strategy to lose its effectiveness. Plus, a test definitely has value as an individual assessment.

But used sparingly, it encourages collaboration and debate.

The activity I'm having them do in the new year is the opposite--it encourages reflection and introspection. Students compare historical New Year's Resolutions to current ones and use foldables to create a booklet of their own.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

You can get it for free here:

New Year's Resolutions
Get it Here!

It's also featured in the Arts and Humanities Teachers Pay Teachers Winter Holiday Ebook. This book is full of tips and free gifts from fabulous teacher-authors. It's a gem, and there's one for every grade level. Thanks a million to Julie Faulkner for taking the time to put this one together:

Arts and Humanities Teachers Pay Teachers Winter Holiday Ebook
Get it Here!
Speaking of fabulous teacher-authors, check out my fantastic free finds for this week:

On the management end of the spectrum, this lesson plan template from Michele Luck’s Social Studies is perfect for planning a whole unit:

Lesson Plan Template
Get it Here!
This high school freebie is an amazing deal from Jamie Edwards—Write On! It includes a PowerPoint, worksheets, and common core aligned lesson plans on teaching the writing process:

Introduction to Writing: The Stages of Writing
Get it Here!
And for teaching a difficult concept to the younger students or struggling readers, you can't beat this Inference Carousel Activity from The Teacher Treasury, complete with pictures, captions, and worksheets:
Making Inferences Picture #6
Get it Here!

Have you ever given collaborative tests? Leave a comment below, and let me know!

Enjoy your much-deserved winter break, and check back in next Monday for more teaching tips and freebies.

Until then!
Especially when it's about crime. Oh yes, all about crime. In my sociology class this past week, we cut out articles from the newspaper, explained what type of crimes they exemplified, and analyzed them under the umbrella of specific sociological theories.
Scrapbooking is a fun activity to do in the classroom, as long as you have an engaging topic and lots of solid guidelines for students! This sociology activity all about crime, deviance, and conformity will engage students and teach them a lot about these topics!

Scrapbooking is a fun activity to do in the classroom, as long as you have an engaging topic and lots of solid guidelines for students! This sociology activity all about crime, deviance, and conformity will engage students and teach them a lot about these topics!

It was engaging for the students, plus it re-enforced the information we needed to learn in our Deviance and Conformity Unit.

We followed the activity up by assigning punishments to the crimes based on Georgia's Crime and Punishment Code. The students read the suggested maximum punishment according to Georgia Law, and then explained the punishment they would dole out for each crime and why.

After that, we watched Frontline's "Solitary Nation," about the effects of solitary confinement in prison. The students answered questions on a film guide and considered alternatives to solitary confinement.

Overall, it was an engaging and relevant activity, and you can get all of the worksheets and links here:

Sociology Crime Scapbooks
Get it Here!
Two weeks 'til the holidays and working to keep it relevant! What are you doing to keep your students engaged so close to the finish line? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Here are my fabulous free finds for this week:

Astoundingly amazing clip art and borders from RebeccaB Designs:
Sunshine Frames Papers & Alpha
Get This Freebie Here!
Homework passes any student will covet from Queen of the Jungle:
Rock Star Owls Homework Pass
Get This Freebie Here!
And finally, a Non-Fiction Worksheet appropriate for nearly any grade and any subject from Ruth S:
Non-Fiction Trifold Template
Get This Freebie Here!
Have a quick and productive countdown to the break!

Check in next week for more fabulous freebies plus a bonus holiday activity from me.

Until then,
If you've never checked out, you really should. It's a site that has teaching materials for every subject imaginable...and the best part? All of the products are created by teachers for teachers.

Teachers Pay Teachers Super Cyber Savings
Check out my Sales!

I was strolling through Barnes and Noble tonight, sipping a latte and thumbing through education books, and there's some really good stuff out there. But I couldn't help thinking about a lot of it, "Who actually uses this stuff?" Or, "There's no way that would work in my classroom."

I don't feel that way on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have purchased or downloaded many products on the site that I have printed off and used in my classroom with little or no prep.

Since teachers create the materials, they have generally used them in their own classrooms--in the trenches. The products are practical and creative and not just some publishing corporation's idea of what should work.

Today and tomorrow, the site is having a sale--most teacher-authors are discounting their products by 20%, and the site offers an additional 8% off if you enter the promo code TPTCYBER. So it's a great time to check out stores on the site if you're looking to spruce up your routine or just save time. It's hard to beat 28% off!

My latest Interactive Notebook can be found there, along with all my other World History Interactive Notebooks.

Enlightenment and Revolution Interactive Notebook
Check out my latest!

I also have freebies, English products, world history products, sociology products, and seasonal products with a lot more coming soon.

There are some amazing stores and products on TPT--literally something for everyone. Here are a couple of fantastic freebies you might want to try that I've found in other teacher's stores:

TPT is a great place to find content--
Here's a helpful activity from Different Drummer Secondary English Resources that is common core aligned and great if you're teaching social studies or English:

Japanese Internment Camp Human Rights Activity
Find it Here!
Or creative clip art--
Here's a beautiful freebie from Utah Roots to spruce up your handouts:

Spring Birds Realistic Clip Art
Find it Here!
Or helpful classroom management tools--
Here's a practical parent contact log from Kacie Travis:

Parent Contact Form
Find it Here!
You will find what you're looking for on TPT. And there's still one more day to save 28%.

Where have you found the most useful teaching resources for your classroom? Leave a comment below, and let me know.

Come back next Monday when I discuss crime scrapbooks in sociology.

Until then!

Death, Divorce, and Moving--the big three. Thankfully, we've only been moving for the past week. That makes everything out of sorts around the house--and my blog late.

But it's not too late to talk about Thanksgiving. There are still three days before my students disperse for the holidays, and hopefully a little turkey and family time. I will not be assigning homework over the break, but we will pause in the curriculum on Friday to consider the holiday.

It's an interesting one and not unique to America as many of the students believe.  We'll look at a brief summary of the history of the holiday as a large group, and then break off into small groups to examine particular eras of Thanksgiving history.

Students will create one page with a summary and picture for their assigned era. Each page will go into a notebook, so that the class has a picture book of the history of Thanksgiving. We'll read the book together as a class and drink hot cider. Fun times....

Early finishers will complete a Thanksgiving crossword, word search, or riddles for extra credit. The riddles are my particular favorite. They include anagrams, Limericks, and rebus (picture) puzzles.

You can find the entire assignment (including the puzzles) here:

Get it Here!

Here are some of my Thanksgiving borders for documents and PowerPoints. Download them for free, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Get it Here!

Do you have any holiday assignments for Thanksgiving? Leave a comment to share your ideas.

Check back in next Monday when I reveal my next interactive notebook--Enlightenment and Revolutions.

Until then,

I create a lot of original work for English and world history, but only some for sociology. I've been teaching sociology for three years, now, and almost immediately, I stumbled upon Introsocsite. It's a fantastic resource for any sociology teacher.

I credit Introsocsite not only for the organization of my course, but also for some fun and highly useful games.

Last week, when we were studying a unit on social organization, we needed to discuss the difference between competitive and cooperative societies. Introsocsite linked me to a fantastic idea--using musical chairs to illustrate the concept.

In the first round of musical chairs, students played in the traditional way. It was highly competitive, and of course, there was only one winner.

The second way involved taking away a chair each time as usual, but students had to figure out a way to keep everybody in the game. They rose to the occasion. They sat in laps, stood on chairs, and formed pyramids. It was interesting that leaders emerged, directing everyone into positions so that nobody would "be out."

Introsocsite has directed me to several hand-on, creative "game" activities. Here are my students putting together puzzles in the first unit to illustrate sociological theories:

Here they are in the unit on social inequalities playing Life Happens--a game that gives each group a different income, and asks them to create a budget for the year. As they are struggling to make the budget work, the teacher drops "Life Happens" cards on their table. The cards present various real-life situations, like the need for a doctor's visit, or the expense of new tires for the car.

Of course, I still create products for sociology and am slowly uploading them on to Teachers Pay Teachers. But this is happening VERY slowly thanks to Introsocsite. It's not much yet, but these are my sociology products so far.

Have you found a web resource for you classroom that you can't live without? Let me know in the comments below.

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Unit 6: The Age of Exploration...Revealed!

Click Here!
Everything you need for a unit on Exploration. It covers European Explorers, Muslim Empires, Native American Empires, and China and Japan.

Only six more to go (for that course). These things are time consuming to create but a pleasure to implement.

Students cut, paste, draw, write, analyze, and keep it all in one place.

So how is it going after 11 weeks?

On the plus side: students are still keeping up with their notebooks, bringing them to class each day, taking pride in their work, and using them as study guides.

On the downside: it does not solve all of your classroom woes.

Take last Wednesday, for example. I was giving a lecture (if you've used any of my notebooks, you know I don't lecture long, and I break up the block with transitions and variety). My students were not having it,, not at all.

You know what I mean, talking and laughing. No amount of redirection worked. I stopped the lecture right there and had them use their books to fill in their cloze notes.

That evening, I called several parents, and the next day, I met sudents at the door with all of their assignments and directions typed up on a handout. I call it "going on strike." I type at the top that if they are on task and working quietly and they raise their hands, I will go and help them.

It's a boring, boring day.

I don't do it often, but when I do, it's pretty effective. The point I want the students to get is that there's an entertaining way to do things, and a not so entertaining way. The entertaining way is a privilege.

Most of the students get it, and we can usually return to class as usual the next day, minus the behavior issues.

Thankfully, it worked well last week, and we were back to interacting with our notebooks by Friday.

How do you "rein" your students back in when they get out of control? If they never get out of control, be sure to give me your secret :). Leave a comment below.

Stay tuned for next Monday when I discuss the benefits of musical chairs in sociology (no really), and any other mishaps that most certainly will occur.

Until then,

I love Halloween. I love the fall--the crisp air, the red and gold leaves, that feeling you get when you sit outside with a book and a cup of coffee (audible sigh)....Fall is all about change, and change is very bittersweet (let's not think about the alternative to change, not on this beautiful day). Winter reminds us of that.

By fall, the school year is in full swing, and the honeymoon is long gone, but that's okay. That just means that it's time to reignite the flame we all felt at the end of summer holidays.

Routine is important--vital for students in this changeable world. But the best way to rekindle the excitement that peaks around the first week of the school year is to throw a little holiday fun their way when you can. That's why I've spent the past week with my head in the clouds, thinking about holiday activities.

And I can't let family game night or family movie night go unanswered. So my apologies for not having my Age of Exploration Interactive Notebook up and running. It's almost ready, but not quite, and I want everything to be "just so."

What I do have are Halloween Activities for English, social studies, and sociology. They will break up the daily routine, and encourage students to collaboratively write scary stories, learn about the history of Halloween, or consider the social implications of Halloween costumes.

Get it Here!

Get it Here!

Get it Here!

I even bought an electric tea kettle and hot cocoa for the occasion....I'm excited!

What is your favorite holiday, and how do you celebrate it at school? Leave a comment below to let me know.

Come back next week when I really do reveal my Age of Exploration Interactive Notebook!

Until then,
We're having midterm exams this week at my school, so it's been looking over old tests and playing review games in tandem with working on the new unit (we have no time to waste in world history on the block schedule).

I'm a big fan of playing Jeopardy "trivia-style" because it saves time. My students are already seated at tables of 4. I project the Jeopardy "answer," and they have 30 seconds to bring me the "question" on a scratch sheet of paper with their table number on it. At the end of he game, the table with the most points "wins."

I also like to play "The Fly Swatter Game" with vocabulary. I write all the vocabulary words on the board, and students face off in pairs, each with a flyswatter. I read the definition or an example, and the first student to "swat" the correct word "wins."

I find it useful to give students copies of old tests with printouts of answers they missed the first time around (We use clickers to record our test responses, so I just print "student results" from my computer). They use their notebooks and their partners to try to figure out the correct answers.

But one thing has been notably absent from my world history class reviews--the gigantic study guide.

We don't need it. We have interactive notebooks. The notebook is a complete study guide for the students. Everything they need to be successful on the exam is there, in one place.

I'm not sure exactly why these work so much better than 3-ring binders, dividers, and loose-leaf paper, but they do. Perhaps it's because it feels more like a dynamic creation to them than a static, "Put this paper behind the unit 3 divider," or, "This goes with your notes."

Whatever it is, I'm not questioning it. Here are my students, busy at work on Unit 6: The Age of Exploration (which I'll reveal here next week):

You can get the individual foldables they're working on here:

Find it Here!

Find it Here!
Also, take a minute to check out my Unit 5: The Renaissance and Reformation Interactive Notebook:

Find it Here!
It's packed with activities, cloze notes, PowerPoints, foldables, and a test.

How do you review for exams? Do you have any amazing games or simple reviews that the students love? Let me know in the comments below!

Check back next week when I reveal my Age of Exploration Interactive Notebook.

Until then,

I'm always looking to mix things up--even if it's just to go outside on a beautiful day for a review game or a lesson. Just like anyone else, students appreciate a change of venue. And, let's face it, different is memorable.

This is when I get to have fun with my elective, sociology. I'm fortunate to work close to a town square and that we are on the block schedule, so walking field trips are no problem, with permission slips, of course.

But even if you're not so fortunate, these things can be assigned for homework and discussed in class.

Last Tuesday, my students and I took a walking field trip to the town square to complete a socialization scavenger hunt. We walked and talked and listened to music--it was fun.

When we got to the square, I turned them loose to begin the scavenger hunt. They went into various shops and observed various people and answered questions about gender and age expectations.

This is the Socialization Scavenger Hunt that we used:

Get it Here!
The next day, they answered the questions on the last page, and we had a pretty good discussion about socialization and expectations for gender and age. 

Getting the students out of the classroom is a great way to engage them in whatever you're doing.

When do you get your students out of the classroom? What types of activities do you do? How has it worked out? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Check back next week for more in the interactive notebook saga. I'll be revealing my Renaissance and Reformation Interactive Notebook.

Until Then,

You heard me--I'm bringing crafts to high school history class. Pop-ups aren't just for babies anymore. I'm an equal-opportunity popper.

At first, they complain. "We're not in second grade."

 But slowly, they get into it, and what's more, they remember it.

We're not just cutting to pass the time. There's a method to my madness--a standard it supports. My philosophy has always been, "Why do the same old book work when you can cover the identical material with art or drama?"

The standard my Middle Ages Pop-Ups cover is

SSWH7 The student will analyze European medieval society with regard to culture, politics, society, and economics.
a. Explain the manorial system and feudalism; include the status of peasants and feudal
monarchies and the importance of Charlemagne.

Here's how we do it:
1. Discuss the manorial system and feudalism using a prezi, cloze notes, and a film clip.
2. Show the step-by-step instructions with pictures on a PowerPoint.
3. Students follow along and make the pop-up.
4. They paste the pop-up into their interactive notebooks.
5. They scan the QR Code on the handout, and answer the questions directly into their notebooks.

It's a creative and fun way to discuss the manorial system and feudalism. What's more, when we come to the dawn of the Industrial Revolution 3 units down the road, students "get" why it was such a big deal that the lords fenced off the common land.

The manorial pop-ups are a part of my Middle Ages in the East and the West Interactive Notebook Bundle that you can get here:

Get it Here!
Don't need the whole thing? No worries. Just get the Pop-Ups here:

Get it Here!
How do you reach across the curriculum? Whether it's STEM or the arts, what do you do to connect with other subjects in your classroom in order to engage students? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Be sure to come back next Monday when I discuss a scavenger hunt through local shops in sociology.

Until then,
I'm a planner. I plan everything--my work day, my family time, my alone time--everything. Maybe it's from spending most of my life listening for a bell to ring. I'm serious. When my son was a baby, I had a schedule that read like this: 6:00 AM, feed baby; 6:15, rock baby; 6:45, put baby in crib--you get the idea (too much information, perhaps?).

So, when things don't go according to plan, I Case in point--Friday morning.

I got up and began getting ready for work. My son got up, and he was sick. I was horrified to have to call in.

Even if you're not a planner but you teach, you know what I mean. If you have the task of teaching the history of the entire world in 18 weeks, then you really know what I mean. We do not have time to get even a day behind.

I got a sub and began the lengthy process of setting out sub plans.

Sociology, let's see, a movie and film guide. Check.

World History, hmmm...I was supposed to introduce Islam. I had a PowerPoint, film clip, activity, and a few Kagan structures going on that day. What to do?

Seriously, we couldn't afford to get behind, so the sub plans HAD to be meaningful.

Then I remembered Teachers Pay Teachers. I sell products on that site, and I've used products on there in my instruction, so why hadn't I thought of it as a time-saving sub resource?

I discovered on Friday morning that it definitely is. In under 10 minutes I had found a meaningful activity (creating a timeline, in my case) that required no prep and had step by step instructions perfect for a sub. My students got a thorough introduction to Islam without my being there.

The best part? I paid $1 for it.

This made me think--why do I focus so heavily on big unit bundles and exclude the small stuff?

So I loaded several small assignments--all under $2. Here are a couple of them:






This sets me back until this weekend loading up my next world history interactive notebook bundle, but I felt like uploading some smaller assignments could be beneficial to teachers in a pinch like I was Friday morning.

What do you do when you have to be out at the last minute? Leave your comments below.

Check in next week to see my new world history interactive notebook bundle and to find out how the Manor Pop-Ups (see last week) went!

Until then,
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