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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Piktochart, Canva and Google Docs for a Social Studies Project.

Hi again!

It's been a while since I published my last post.!

During last week and some days from this one, my students were working on a project. The topic was EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. We have been practicing with PURPOSE GAMES their capitals and physical features.  So, as a "wrap up" activity, My students were divided into 5 big groups, randomly chosen.  Each group was assigned a country and researched about it.

I worked with GOOGLE DOCS again, because it is engaging and easier for me to edit and check documents. Besides it's GREEN teaching and learning.

Every team created a folder in which they had to upload every item requested for the project.  The project was called: "Travel Agency" and each team created INFOGRAPHICS, POSTERS AND FLYERS to promote traveling to a European country.


At the end, each team brought a typical food recipe from their team's country and the whole class tasted them.

It was a cool activity combined with technology integration!

For the INFOGRAPHIC, the students used 2 tools: "Piktochart and Canva".
I really liked PIKTOCHART because it is easier to use.  The icons and tools the website has makes it friendly for student's and teacher's use. The only "bad" thing I may say, it has is that the FREE version does not allow you to change the font color.

Canva is another site, pretty much the same as Piktochart, but the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE is that you may change the FONT color.
I have read other reviews and teachers prefer CANVA over PIKTOCHART.
I am definitely going to try Canva some more to prove this.



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

GOOGLE Sheets and Purpose Games- Mapping skills

Hello everybody!

I really love GOOGLE APPS and everything about them.

This quarter I have started working with my 7th grade students' mapping skills. So, I use a super cool website called Purpose Games to reinforce mapping skills.

To track students' progress and performance I created a  Google Sheet  to act as a log so students could access and enter their scores and time record every time they "PLAY" a mapping skill game.
The students know that they have to complete a series of attempts each week to prepare for the weekly test, and they can see which country or game they are going to master during a specific week, as well as the TEST date.

I started to use this for the first week just to see if it actually works, and when the test results came, I was SHOCKED!!!!
Students not only practice their mapping skills,but they also become ACCOUNTABLE of their learning in a fun way!

I really encourage teachers to use PURPOSE GAMES and GOOGLE SHEETS to track progress and master specific mapping skills.

Hope this post is useful!
Please comment and share

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Working with QR codes-7th grade

I have always wanted to work with QR CODES. I searched through the Internet and finally came up with some ideas to use them.

In 7th grade, students seem very much engaged when they have "Wow" moments, and using QR CODES was not the exception.

Ways teachers may use QR codes in classroom.

1-linking to YouTube videos.
2- adding PDF files.
3-link to a website.
4-as ID card.

This last point I  love!
      I used QR CODES for each student, and created a passport. My unit that week was CITIZENSHIP and RESPONSIBILITIES , therefore students were going to learn the importance of carrying identification documents and the consequences of losing them.

Using GOOGLE DOCS I was able to create a unique QR CODE for every single student. So every day before entering to class,they had to show their passport or visa with QR CODE and get it scanned by me!

This is a cool way to teach about CIVICS AND CITIZENSHIP.
In a later post I will upload my HOW TO CREATE QR CODES USING GOOGLE DOCS!

Inquiry Circles- 6th grade

Hi there!!!!

I want to share  about a collaboration strategy called: INQUIRY CIRCLE .

I loved this!! Project based learning helps students create their own understanding and knowledge.
The whole project starts with ASKING questions.

The topic I chose for this activity was ANCIENT INDIA.
Students were divided into 5 groups. Each group had a big topic ( Religion, Lifestyle, Society, Government, Kingdoms), and each member was in charge of a subtopic.

Therefore, each student was able to develop their own subtopic with questions to base their research.

After they have created the questions they searched for answers. The whole point is for them to come up with OPEN ENDED questions that allows them to fully explain and describe the topic chosen.

Once every student is done with their QUESTIONS and ANSWERS, altogether they created a presentation using PREZI to present and show results and findings.
Also, at the end they wrote the words the learned during the process of the Inquiry Circle.

The cool part is that since every student had their own subtopic, they were able to teach others, making it somehow like a "jigsaw learning" practice.




Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ancient Egypt- Canopic Jars!- 6th grade

For the unit about Ancient Egypt, we learned about traditions and rituals performed by Egyptians.

We watch a Youtube video about Ancient Egypt and as a classwork they answered some questions

1: Where did the ancient Egyptian civilisation thrived ?
2.- How do we know this civilisation existed?  Name the geographic feature that reminds us about it.
3.- What was a pharaoh? What were some beliefs the Egyptians had about them?
4.- Why did Egyptians built pyramids? (Purpose)
5.-Describe the belief of “afterlife”.
6.- Define “embalming”.
7.-What organ was the fountain of life? (hint: this organ was not removed from the body)
8.- Describe the sarcophagus. (How did it look like?)
9.- Name of the letters or writing system of ancient Egyptians:__________________
10.-Name of the paper they invented:_______________
11.- List some of the gods they had.
12.- List important facts about Egyptians

As a "Wrap-up" activity I usually have the students create something. This is, involving art and crafts.

This time we made CANOPIC JARS using  a Pringles can!

Canopic jars were used by the Ancient Egyptians during the mummification process to store and preserve the viscera of their owner for the afterlife. They were commonly either carved from limestone or were made of pottery.

Pringles can
glue and water
plastic container ( to mix water with glue )
paint brushes
2 clay bars (brown color)
acrylic paint ( gold, silver, red, yellow, blue, brown and black)
1 small foam cup

Add glue and pour some water to a plastic container ( more glue than water) and mix.
Cover the Pringles can with newspaper using the glue mixture. Let it dry.
In the meantime, using the clay bars make the shape of the head of the canopic jar.
Take the foam cup and cut it in half. The half of the cup that has the bottom part is going to be used as the base of the head. Paste the foam cup and the Pringles can with some masking tape.
After you have done this, cover the foam cup with a thin layer of clay and shape the head on top. 
Cover the head with newspaper and glue mixture and let it dry.
Once it is all dry, start painting your Canopic Jar!!!!!

These were my class's  creations!


I am so happy my students won the Middle School Reading Contest!!!!!!

Today, Mr. Cyr the principal came in and gave us our prize: A Captain America piƱata full of goodies!

Later in the week we are going to break it!

I am so proud and will continue motivating my kiddos to read!


Monday, November 9, 2015

5 Themes of Geo song- 6th grade

Hello again!!!!

I have lots of assignments, and pretend to document everything!!!
Well,  for my 6th graders I designed a project that included TECHNOLOGY!!!!!
 I love TECHNOLOGY and especially  if I can create new content and knowledge with it.

So..... The activity I used technology with involved creating a SONG ABOUT THE 5 THEMES OF GEOGRAPHY or the LAYER OF THE EARTH.

This activity took around 2 weeks since students were only working during my class.

I created a rubric and a checklist with all the items to include.

The results were amazing!  Students had lots of fun, and now remember what these topics are about by singing a song.

The activity consisted of changing the lyrics of a song to words and concepts related to either the 5 themes of Geo or the Layers of the Earth.

After changing the lyrics, they had to record a video of themselves singing or showing such concepts. Subtitles were added to the video just like a "sing a- long" version.
The lyrics were turned in printed with their grading rubric.

Here you can see some pictures about this activity.



5 Themes of Geography

 Well this time I will post about my 7th graders!!
 They are truly amazing and creative.

When it comes to teach about Geography, the 5 Themes are basic!! Therefore, I came up with a fun activity  to engage students in learning about them and at the same time practice them.

I planned a GAME PROJECT. 

The goal  was to create a Game about the 5 themes of Geo or any topic we had seen ( Latitude and Longitude, Time zones, Continents and Oceans)

Students were given options for the type of game: Trivia, Game Board, Bingo or Twister.

The fun part was actually trying these games. They were so excited about this!!!!

Let me know if you are interested in the rubric!!!

This project took a week and 2 days to be completed. Students worked only inside the classroom and brought materials to class.


PREHISTORY- Cave Art Painting 6th grade

In 6th grade the curriculum is based on the Ancient Civilizations like Sumer, Egypt, India, etc...

First I started off with PREHISTORY. For this unit I created slideshows and to wrap it up, I came up with an activity.

The activity consisted of making Cave Art painting and Cuneiform writing in "clay tablets".

The materials  we used were:

-5 mts. of Kraft paper
- brown, yellow, orange and black acrylic paint.
- 2 clay bars  (yellow, or orange)
- 1 wooden sticks (pencil like)

I divided the class in 2 groups, Each group worked with a specific activity.

1.-The first activity was Cave art painting. So I basically gave them an example of a cave art painting and told them to create a drawing using their fingers and hands ( no paint brushes).

2.- The second activity was Cuneiform writing. 
Students used their clay bars and shaped them into a square or rectangle figure, then they pressed their wooden stick (with the sharp end) to write their own names using the cuneiform alphabet!

At the end I used their paintings to decorate my so lonely bulletin board!!!!!

I found this activities engaging, since they had fun and used their previous knowledge for this session.

Please comment and feel free to use this ideas with your classroom!



Interesting generation- Challenge!!!!!

This generation is quite interesting! 
I have 3 groups with different literacy levels, which makes it quite complicated to teach. Not impossible, but indeed interesting. 

For this particular generation I have modified my plans so many times, that one day I decided to add a different ingredient to my recipe.

Instead of lecturing and showing a Keynote slideshow, I decided to add some "hands-on activities".  For my surprise, this worked.

I will share some activities in the following posts.




My name is Gina Morales, I am a Middle School teacher in Monterrey, Mexico. I have been a teacher for 3 years and a half now. I started out as a permanent substitute teacher and finally I am teaching what I am passionate about: Social Studies.

I work at Euroamerican School of Monterrey. This is my first year here, and I am teaching Social Studies in 6th and 7th grade.
My groups are very different, this is the reason why I have to keep them interested in the topics and lessons.  I decided to create this blog to document my strategies and at the same time share and learn best practices.
Here, you will see some successful lesson plans and why not... some lesson that did not result the way I planned. I hope I can learn from this process and share ideas with the community.