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:

Socialization Scavenger Hunt
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!

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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."

Color, Cut, Paste, Fold...POP!  (Um...In High School)
 But slowly, they get into it, and what's more, they remember it.

Color, Cut, Paste, Fold...POP!  (Um...In High School)

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.

Color, Cut, Paste, Fold...POP!  (Um...In High School)

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:

The Middle Ages in the East and the West Interactive Notebook
Get it Here!
Don't need the whole thing? No worries. Just get the Pop-Ups here:

Middle Ages Manors Pop Ups
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!

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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 feel...off. 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:

The Fall of Rome: Different Opinions from Secondary Sources

Plato vs. Aristotle: Two Worldviews

Compare the Justinian Code to Your State's Law Code

The Mongols: A Webquest with QR Codes
What do you do when you have to be out at the last minute? Leave your comments below.

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I took the Labor Day Holiday off to spend with family. We went into the city (which here means Atlanta) cooked out, and played a new game called "Seven Wonders." It was a great family weekend.

But my mind always wanders back to my classes.

My sociology students completed and presented their research projects before we went away for the holiday. They conducted experiments or surveys, reviewed research literature, and presented their findings to the class in the form of Prezis, PowerPoints, and videos.

Some of them (and they got really excited about this) performed ethnomethodology (or breaching) experiments. They behaved unexpectedly in  social situations. Some rode tricycles around campus; others stood on chairs and read in the media center; still others breached proximity (stood too closely to others in an elevator--pretended to be on the yearbook staff, and took extreme close-ups).

Still others conducted surveys. They were searching out people's tendency to conform or their ideals of beauty.

Whatever they did, they had a blast, and took a lot of pride in their research. It was fun to watch it all unfold. You can get my editable research handouts for free here:

Sociological Research
Get it FREE here

In world history, my students were very concerned that I took up their interactive notebooks today. They really seem to be taking pride in these, and they want them back NOW! What they don't know is that I have a surprise in store for them for the next unit on the middle ages (I will post the entire interactive notebook this weekend in my TPT store). Manorial System Pop-Ups....You can get the pop-ups here:

Middle Ages Manor Pop Ups
Get it HERE

I'm also slowly but surely posting all of my materials from my years as an English teacher. My latest two include foldables, graphic organizers, and examples. I never have assigned anything to my students without doing it first myself. So, if it's a descriptive narrative, I've gone through the process and written one. The same goes for short stories and everything else. You can check them out here:

Descriptive Narrative: Better Writing through Sentence Imitation
Get it HERE
The Elements of Plot
Get it HERE
Have you ever done an amazing research project with your students? Leave a comment below, and let me know.

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