Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Host of Christmas Crafts

Enjoy the following crafts with your families this Christmas - many make lovely gifts!


Use this template for your students to design a holiday stamp, either reflecting their own favorite holiday traditions, or inventing a new holiday.


Christmas can be done inexpensively, as reflected in these wonderful craft suggestions. Scroll down for garlands and jewelry, ornaments and origami boxes - all from recycled materials.


Parents will love receiving these ornaments as a Christmas present from your students, and will quite likely treasure them through the years. Paper doilies are arranged around a digital image and attached to a craft stick; find complete directions here.


Yummy! This Santa sleigh is fashioned with two candy canes, and filled with Christmas candy too!


You can make anything you want with this clay - add some red coloring for a special treat, or mix in red and yellow for your students to mold their own Gingerbread Men. While this clay smells yummy, remind students that it contains white glue and they cannot taste it. If you are particularly concerned, replace white glue with a paste of flour and water instead. 


What a clever idea! Add glitter to dimensional bottle caps (plastic caps work best), then cut out bubbles from bubble wrap to give even more dimension to these unique ornaments.


Students are given half of a Christmas tree drawing on one side of a grid; proceeding square by square, they will fill in the matching half on the other side.


These cards are adorable! Hands are dipped into white paint for Santa's beard and mustache - amazing how well it works! Then add a red hat and white button trim.


Get the green and white striped mints for this project, where students will build up a candy Christmas tree, complete with little ornaments.


Easy and elegant, and very appealing! Hang these cut paper pines on your Christmas tree, decorated with "lights" and buttons.


This little reindeer hangs right on the Christmas tree - as long as your students don't eat the candy canes first!


Give this page some time to download. You'll be creating some beautiful snowflake photo ornaments - a great gift for your students to take home for lasting family treasures this holiday season.


These crackle cards are quite unique, and will make treasured Christmas or holiday cards for friends and family. Any design can be incorporated into the technique.


Use these mosaic candle designs for many winter holidays - whether making a set for a menorah, for a kinara, for New Year's, or for Christmas.


Step-by-step instructions take elementary students through the process of drawing a Nutcracker Prince. Fill them in with colorful, metallic markers.


Turn leftover puzzle pieces into reindeer pins - or magnets; simply attach a magnet strip to the back after following the construction directions here.


Paper, plastic, or styrofoam cups are covered with aluminum foil and adorned with bells in this wonderful holiday craft. Make some music!


Shine the light on those three tenors! These adorable singing snowmen are created from recycled socks, fiberfill, beads, and pompoms. 


You could use recycled wrapping paper for this project; the gold, silver, or red foils turn out beautifully.


Older students can take on the challenge of making some beautiful poinsettias for a holiday treat. Find directions here, along with printable templates to use at the 2nd and 3rd links above.


Your class will want to create a host of different colors in these elegant ornaments, created from paper tubes and pipe cleaners, but with oh-so-elegant lines.


Along with five different snowflake pattern templates to download and print out here, also find step-by-step directions.

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
- Charles Dickens

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Driving Tips

As the holiday season - and winter weather - approaches, we are posting these tips for your own use and safety, from the wonderful NPR duo, Click and Clack:
Drive safely!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Mail for Military Heroes

The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes are organizing a Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. You and your class can send holiday cards to soldiers, families, and vets. The deadline for collection is December 10th. Mail your cards to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hanukkah Resources

Here are several fun and informative resources for those of you learning about Hanukkah, or celebrating it in your classrooms. Hanukkah begins at sundown on Dec.1st, and ends on Dec. 9th this year.


Discover the history of Hanukkah, along with its traditions and foods in this resource, with online videos.


In this online game, a small boy is spinning the dreidel. Students must locate 10 differences between the two pictures before clicking on the answers.


Match up all the versions of menorahs, and reveal a hidden picture of an actual menorah in this global Hanukkah concentration game.


Running in every direction, find terms associated with Hanukkah here for a celebration of the festivities.


Print out the characters to make a shoebox diorama (or tissue box, any box...), either with the first link, or the Hanukat version at the next three links above.


How many moves will it take your students to complete the menorah puzzle, online here? There are twenty-five pieces to place, and the timer is running!


Follow directions here to download and print out a fun, folder paper Hanukat fortune teller for Hanukkah.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Farmer's Market
Here's a good Thanksgiving activity for younger students, where they will set up a play Farmer's Market, using magazine food cut-outs. Farmers will set prices, devise strategies to sell their foods, and buyers will have play money and try to negotiate prices. For elementary (rather than PreK students), have prices in dollars and cents, and practice giving change. Need some printable play money to use? Try the link below:

Monday, November 8, 2010


Since 1,500 students clearly would not fit into any lecture hall at most colleges, the class will come to their dorm rooms instead - or at least to their laptop computers. Which makes some parents ask: is the tuition price tag worth it?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Race to Nowhere
Have you heard of the film, "Race to Nowhere"? Here's the write-up from the website:
"Director Vicki Abeles turns the personal political, igniting a national conversation in her new documentary about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired."
See if a screening is being held near you, or schedule your own and start the conversation.

Training the Brain to Treat ADHD
Neurofeedback - it's expensive, takes a good deal of time, and doesn't have any scientific evidence to support its validity. But proponents say it can help teach the brain, yielding more focused results.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sentence Level Games
Find an extensive database of interactive games at this site for students to practice capitalization, punctuation, and sentence structure.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Turkey Template

It's turkey time! Use our turkey template this month for crafts, thankful notes, decorations...
(NB: The turkey template is part of my Fall-Themed Shape Books package, at the link above. Find a FREE download of the Turkey Template under "Preview!"):


Download and print out these placemats for your desks, where students can connect-the-dots, color a cornucopia, or fill out a Thanksgiving-themed wordsearch. You can always scale your printer to use regular size paper for this placemat.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trick or Treat Online Game

The trick is to beat the pumpkin by finding the best route to trick or treat and then get home!


Build your own beast - then rate others in this online game.

Hanging Spiders and Spider Hats

Black construction paper, some paint, googly eyes, and paper plates -- oh, and glue. That's what you'll need to put these two projects together, then watch those spiders dangle from the ceiling and crawl on a band for your students' hats.


Make these adorable candy corn photo holders from sculpey clay, chenille stems, and permanent markers; do get some adult help with cutting tools when using the project with younger classes. You can also use the same pattern to make candy corn jewelry - a bracelet, necklace, earrings...

Dancing Skeletons

Lightweight Model Magic provides the secret ingredient for these jointed skeletons, which can dance, puppet-style, when completed.

Adjective Monsters

Create an adjective monster for Halloween! Find instructions here to develop a sculptured monster, or simply use word art to build a monster with adjectives in a collage or poster.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Turkey Hand Puppets

Let's talk turkey! Your students are going to love both making and playing with these clever little puppets, fashioned from popped corn and disposable gloves.

Corn Print Apron

Corn cobs are sliced (try thirds) and then skewered onto shish-kebab dowels to use as rollers for this painting project - perfect for Thanksgiving. Try corn cobs without the kernels as a rolling paint tool as well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Make Some Halloween Slime!

Green, gooey, and lots of fun.... what more could you want for Halloween??

Hanging Spiders and Spider Hats

Black construction paper, some paint, googly eyes, and paper plates -- oh, and glue. That's what you'll need to put these two projects together, then watch those spiders dangle from the ceiling and crawl on a band for your students' hats.


Students will use corn cobs to create painted prints on paper. These prints can then be laminated to make Thanksgiving placemats. You can also use clean and dried corn cobs for a different paint effect.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pasta Skeletons
Dem bones - ya gotta love 'em! And here's a wonderful craft to display skeleton knowledge - or learn it! Use various shapes of pasta, including alphabet pasta for labeling, against a black poster board background. Take a look.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Calendar Resources

Have you been checking our calendar for daily resources? Check back each Monday to Friday for printable worksheets, themed teaching resources, and the occasional surprise! Also keep checking our front page for any upcoming promos.......

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A World Devoid: EPIC !!! Environmental/Dystopia Game

View the movie first; that in itself is awesome - then play the game of the title link, where you must fight to save the dwindling resources of a desert planet and help to choose its fate.

Online Video:


Sunday, September 12, 2010


Let the competition begin! It seems we develop ideas of inequality when we progress through grade school. We start out believing in equality for everyone, but by adolescence, we're deeply committed to meritocracies. Find out why.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Turning Study Habits on its Head
Turns out it's not always a good idea to set aside one place to study every night...

Monday, September 6, 2010


The Los Angeles Times invited pandemonium when a team of its reporters published a value-added analysis of Los Angeles School Districts' individual teachers' progress scores, saying it was providing transparency for parents. The technique used is controversial, to say nothing of the report and its release. And then in Washington, school chancellor Michelle Rhee fired over 100 teachers before school started, based on value-added scores. Is it an appropriate measure of accountability? As this article points out, value-added scores are often swayed by the appointment of students to classes; it's not a random system, so lower scores accompany low-skilled learners in the first place. Some suggestions included here: improving standardized tests and adding peer reports to teacher evaluations. And here's one: how about transparency for student homework and studying? 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Value-Added Modeling
Value-added modeling: is it a fair system of evaluating teachers?

Monday, August 30, 2010


The District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island can all celebrate; they're all winners in the controversial federal Race to the Top education program. But as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reported, there just aren't enough funds for all 46 states who applied. 

Preschool Depression?

It's not just that Johnny might be having a bad day at school, or that perhaps he has ADHD tendencies; new reports suggest depression - at preschool age...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Enough of NCLB!
NEA is proposing legislative action, saying it's time to change NCLB and to craft a new bill that offers the appropriate resources to help all students succeed. Want to help demand that new legislation? NEA has formulated an interactive letter: you simply enter your name, choose the elements you wish to include in your letter, and submit.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

School Tours

Here's a great idea for sometime during your first few days back at school. Introduce your younger students to the different functions and offices at school on a guided student tour, making your students more comfortable with their new surroundings at the same time as informing them where everything is.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Click to Give Literacy Site
You need do nothing more than click at this site to help them donate books to kids in need (daily clicking helps even more!).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Interactive Book Report Station

Sandwich layers are used to visually teach about book reports and make the experience an easy one. Students enter in the requested information for each layer, building their book reports with title, author, plot summaries, climax, main characters, etc. according to the ingredients used to also build a sandwich - interactive and very creative.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Classroom Management Mistakes

Oops! We all make mistakes, but here are some to avoid in your own classroom management practices, from overpraising, to starting class activities before attaining full student attention.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fun (& Yucky!) Art Recipes

Gunk, goop, flubber, and slime... Find a number of art recipes to keep handy throughout the school year - your students will enjoy making them with you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Classroom Management Quickies

Oops! We all make mistakes, but here are some to avoid in your own classroom management practices, from overpraising, to starting class activities before attaining full student attention.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A No-D Policy
At this New Jersey High School, a policy has been adopted to get rid of "D" grades entirely. It's either A, B, C, or Fail. Teachers and students are worried, while the high school feels it's helping raise standards.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Soundtrack for My Life

Want a unique back-to-school project for middle and high school students? Try this idea, where they can create and share an "all about me"  exercise in a more sophisticated endeavor, by creating a unique soundtrack of their favorite music pieces, perhaps, as suggested here, also representing major events in their lives.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Senate Passes $26 Billion Aid to Schools, States

Tax "Holidays" on Back to School Supplies
Several states are initiating a "tax holiday" on back to school supplies, hoping that shoppers coming in to take advantage of the tax removal will also shop for other items, which will remain taxable. Will the idea boost sales and state revenues? Many analysts don't believe so...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Plan an End of Summer Kids' Carnival!

We had so much fun planning our own front yard carnivals as kids - front yard so everyone passing by could see it and drop by! We kept most games at a penny - way back when - I suppose inflation might call for at least a nickel! And prizes were simple. Make your own tickets and celebrate the last days of summer with your own carnival, whether at school as a welcome back before you begin, or in your own neighborhood.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Painted Sneakers

Here's a great back-to-school project for middle school students, where they can express an "all about me" theme by decorating, personalizing, and painting their sneakers! Ask them to bring in an old or inexpensive pair of sneakers the first week back.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Make a 3D Paper Dragon

There are a trio of dragons available to download and print out for assembly here, all 
designed after "How to Train Your Dragon" characters. Art and assembly instructions can 
both be printed out. Great fun!

Monday, July 19, 2010

How Stimulus Funds Can Go Very Wrong

A great principal with an incredible track record is "removed". Why would this happen? "...because the Burlington School District wanted to qualify for up to $3 million in federal stimulus money for its dozen schools." 

New Family Fun, Learning, & Creativity Site

Chili Walla:
We're happy to recommend this family website for summer activities to keep kids busy and active, and to support families, learning, and creativity all year long - it's brand new, and looks promising with lots of great resources to come!

Teacher Tube
This "YouTube" style site services teachers only. Though it runs the gamut of K-12 topics (and sometimes quality), there are some gems included.

Friday, July 16, 2010

KerPoof! in the Classroom
Start with the Teacher's FAQ page above for Kerpoof - which is free for classroom use - and learn how to use it to supplement your instruction. Register your class with a school email address, find lesson plans, and classroom ideas to help you make stories, spell words visually, or even create animated movies or artwork. Great fun and learning for elementary and middle school classes!

Worldbook Curriculum Guide: Grade by Grade Typical Course of Study

How does your own curriculum fare in this typical (or standardized) course of study for each grade level, K-12?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships

If you have the skills to teach high school science, math, technology, or engineering, take a look at these teaching fellowships. They include both a considerable stipend, admission to a master's program at quality participating universities, mentoring and support, and guidance toward certification. A 3 year teaching commitment after completing the program is required. Learn more about these programs at both links below.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Art & Science of Bubbles

Here's a great way to experience summer fun and learning - with bubbles! Create some bubble magic with disappearing color bubbles, try making some bubble art, make a pop-proof bubble - or even a square one. Use the link below to also print out a mini book of bubble activities:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


What do you think? If kids start school later in the morning, will they pay more attention? Be more rested? Happier, even? This study thinks so - read the article and listen to the podcast.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July Parade Fans
Skip the last part of the instructions for this craft (for framing the flag with straws), and simply follow directions to make your own, wonderful 4th of July parade fan!
*H*A*P*P*Y*  *4*T*H*  *O*F*  *J*U*L*Y*  !!!!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Engineering in the Classroom

Before they can even spell it, K-5 students are learning engineering principles in the classroom, with a hands-on, project-based learning approach. Answering the call for more competent students, as well as the Obama administration's Race to the Top States Competition, schools are exploring engineering curriculum for even the youngest grades, hoping to gain a competitive edge.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Make a 4th of July Banner

Print these banners out as large as you can on your printers, then cut along the dotted horizontal lines to create the streamers (leave the star band uncut).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Show Me the Dinosaurs!
Whip up some dinosaur fun this summer - print out a Jurassic board game, make a dino mask, invent a new (!) dinosaur, or create some clay dinosaur models.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Customize your search with this academic search engine - for students and non-students alike - using Google, Wikipedia, Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wolfram, Images, and Acronym. Want more custom search features? Then click on "more stuff" for converters, citations, and translators.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NASA Space Science Resources for Educators
Whether for summer learning about the stars and the solar system as you look out at the gorgeous night sky, or for planning ahead to an astronomy unit next year, NASA offers tons of resources here for educators. Search by grade, subject, or topic.

Geography Clipart

Need some geography clipart to go along with your summer learning themes? Click on the link above for numerous excellent pages of geography clipart options.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Science Videos for Schools

Want a user's guide for the human body? What about learning more about wind energy, or finding out if video games can actually be good for hand-eye coordination? Find numerous science topics explored through videos, for classroom use.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Stars and Stripes Hats

Whether for the 4th of July parade or just celebrating that patriotic feeling - try making these appealing stars and stripes hats. 10" gift bags are suggested, but you can also pull in the edges of a larger grocery bag (on each side, match the insets and tape the sides to fit - it's like making a pleat or a dart). Proceed as directed here with pencils, rulers, paints, and stickers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monster Bugs!

Students will Build a Bug with this online learning game. Younger students will simply have fun trying to match up the parts, or mixing them for their own monster bug to print out. Third grade classes can read the information for each insect and try to assemble all of the correct parts.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.  ~ Lewis Carroll 

Monterey Bay Aquarium Printable Coloring Book

Are you learning all about sea life this summer? Even if you're not, you can visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium without ever leaving your classroom! Download the book cover and pages of all the various sea creatures to color, with this delightful printable book.

Summer Clipart

We've added our own summer clipart images in a previous blog entry (see below), but if you need even more, try the three pages of free summer clipart offered here!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Baseball: The Game and Beyond!

Why not study up on America's most popular game over the summer? Take a virtual walk around the stadium, visit the announcer's booth (and find out what the job requirements are), get behind the plate, vote for your favorite team, and of course, join the players in the bullpen. What are you waiting for? Play ball!

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Landmarks

Going somewhere special this summer? Take a preview of your trip with Google's Street View of World Landmarks. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Westminster Abbey, The Louvre or the Eiffel Tower... Zoom in and take a 360• turn to view your destination, or to simply travel around the world this summer without ever leaving the comfort of your favorite armchair!

Figure This!

Four challenges will tempt your clever brain: figure out the time you have to wait in line; which shape will hold the most popcorn; when you would have the billionth beat of your heart, given a starting time; or why manhole covers aren't square... Ready? For even more printable challenges this summer, download 80 challenges at the 2nd link below and create your own challenge workbook.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How's Your U.S. Geography?

Where's that state? You'll have to locate all of the 50 states with this online American Geography game - great review before summer vacation!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Make an Ant Farm this Summer

Find out how to create your own ant farm - for classroom or home - with just a few supplies. It's a great summer science project!

P.E. Central

This site offers loads of lesson plans in physical education and health, with related classroom management issues, integrated lessons with other subjects, field day suggestions, best practices, and assessment all included. Lessons are organized by grade and level.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dick Blick Art Videos

The Dick Blick art website has some fantastic art lesson plans, as well as its own You Tube video channel now. It currently features "glass" sculptures with an easy-to-work-with medium - and the results are stunning. Find step-by-step instructions, with links to the pdf lessons, at the URL below.

Friday, June 4, 2010

20 Summer Art Activities

Need some creative, stimulating, fun - and inexpensive - summer art projects? Find some great ideas here to engage kids over the hot summer months, including Coffee Can Stilts and Magazine Houses.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Teacher Book Wizard

Whether you want to find some fantastic new books for the fall, or you want to send home a
book list for your students this summer based on a leveled search (based on reading and interest level,
subject, genre, etc.), this resource from Scholastic has loads of options for you.

Fortune Teller Writing

Use the link below to create a folded paper "fortune-teller" - one of those paper games where students insert their fingers into the folds to open and close the different squares (a classmate selects a number on one of the flaps), and a fortune is revealed. The writing part of this exercise? Students will make up summer fortunes for their classmates - think of what they'll be doing during the summer, what will happen to students at camps, etc., and have fun with this writing exercise!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bird-Brained Pizza

This idea really is for the birds - fashioning a "pizza" from birdseed. Learn how to make these special pizzas for your feathered friends at the link below.

Make a Bug Observation Jar

All you need for this project is a bit of paint and some old mason jars - and a nail to hammer through some holes in the lid. Let your students decorate it however they will with paint, then go outside and collect some specimens. Be sure to research their needs - and supply them with the habitat they need for observation. Of course you will be letting your bugs go free - all the better to find other bugs to study as well.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Our Town Brochures

Have your students work in small groups (or individually) to complete a visitor's brochure for your town, its sights and activities, parks and recreation, by filling in the panels here. On the opposite side, scale down a town map and make it more touristy by adding colors and fun fonts. Fold your brochure and leave it at restaurants and hotels in your area that you have listed. It's a great project for the end of the school year.

Summertime Beach Scavenger Hunt

Are your classes planning a field trip to the beach before school ends (or for your summer school classes)? Then be sure to print out copies of this scavenger hunt page to take with you.