Thursday, October 31, 2013

Teaching Egypt in Pictures

It is always fun starting a new unit. I especially love to teach Egypt because there are so many fun activities to do with it. There are also plenty of resources to use when teaching Egypt.   I hooked my students into the unit by passing around books about Egypt and having them write down what looked interesting to them.  We then looked at a map that compared the location of Egypt to Mesopotamia.  It was good for them to see how close the two civilizations were to each other.   To look into the geography of Egypt we spent some time thinking about the benefits of the Nile river. We made our own river in our interactive social studies notebooks.  After studying geography we took a closer look at the daily life of ancient Egyptians.  Here is the book we put together:

The next day we looked into what Egyptians wore.  We made our own necklaces with famous symbols as charms.  We talked about Egyptian art and the meaning of the symbols they used.

Yesterday we learned about schools in Egypt and their writing system.  One activity I did was a class venn diagram to compare ancient Egyptian schools to our school.  This was very easy for them to do but a good visual.  Next year I think I will have my students make a model or picture of what an ancient school would have looked like. 

They really enjoyed writing in hieroglyphics.  Everyone learned how hard it was to decipher messages since the hieroglyphics represented individual syllables.  If I have more time next year I would love for them to make scrolls to put their hieroglyphic message on.
For Halloween we talked about mummification and the Egyptian believe in afterlife.  They were all into this and wanted to know everything about how mummies were made.

I'm only half way through this unit so far.  I'm excited to talk about pyramids and the social class system next.  What activities do you use to teach ancient Egypt?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Calling all Middle School Pinterest lovers!

I'm super thrilled that Pinterest is now adding special boards for education.  They are calling it Teachers on Pinterest and are putting together public boards for educators to collaborate with.  Right now they have a board for all the elementary grades and are about to add middle school boards.  I was contacted to help start a middle school english and social studies board since those are the subjects I teach.  I need other Pinners to pin on these boards before they will make them public.  So if you pin middle grades language arts or social studies pins, please follow me on Pinterest and leave a comment so I can add you to be able to pin on these boards.
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

New Units

   I'm so thankful for a fresh new start next week.  Last week I finished up Mesopotamia and my elements of fiction unit.  I'm going to reteach a few concepts on Monday and Tuesday from those two units before moving on.  My standard class didn't do as well on the fiction test as I would have liked so  I'm going to spend some time working in small groups with what they missed on their tests.  I'm also going to summarize what we have learned so far about the ancient world before moving write into Egypt.  I have a great book that has a page with graphics for each important time in history.  I'm going to use that to create a timeline of the world so far.  Wednesday it will be time for Ancient Egypt and Poetry!

For anyone else who teaches ancient civilizations, you are welcome to use the LiveBinder I put together.  It has a tab with links to all kind of Ancient Egypt sites.
Social Studies

How will I begin teaching ancient Egypt?

I have a book of Ancient World Reader's Theatre Plays which I will start off with to grab their attention.  I then plan on showing the connection between Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.  Before we start learning important vocabulary I'm going to pass around Egypt books and have students write down what they find interesting in the books and would want to learn more about.

How will I begin teaching poetry?

Before I even start teaching poetry I will start Monday and Tuesday by reading some fun poems to the class.  We will begin learning types of figurative language on Wednesday.  I plan on using a lot of music to begin with to draw the students into learning about poetry.  I found a couple of parody's I'm going to show and then have them create their own parody.

In other news...I'm hoping to get back to a normal routine next week myself.  I haven't been doing much exercising or anything for myself really in the past month with all I've had going on.  This weekend I haven't been feeling that great so I'm truly hoping that Monday morning will bring a fresh start and a renewed spirit.  I found this awesome song called "Breathing Air Again" that is about taking a breath of fresh air and trusting God to be with you through every step of the day.

Have a blessed week!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five for Friday

I haven't posted much lately so I thought I'd at least link up today for Five for Friday to share a bit of my week.


On Monday I played the song from Flocabulary that goes with the Mesopotamia unit. I've done a lot of songs with my lessons lately but my students really enjoyed this one.  This song is great to review everything about Mesopotamia, it includes almost all of the key vocabulary.


We read a short version of the Epic of Gilgamesh this week. I then had my students create comics to illustrate an adventure Gilgamesh was in.  I was impressed at their creativity making the comics.  It was a great lesson in sequence of events. 


Last Saturday I went to the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival near the mountains with my parents.  It was a beautiful day for it & I was able to find a couple gifts for people at work.  We also saw some pets they had at the petting zoo.  It was interesting seeing a camel, since that isn't what you would normally expect at a petting zoo.


My students have ePals now from France and Mexico.  They were able to email their pals this week for the first time and were so excited.  They are already learning so many things about other cultures.  Their ePals from France sent their height in their letters and my students were asking me if they were short because they were "only 1 meter" tall.  We had some great discussions about other cultures and it was great seeing them so excited to learn about people.


Today my cheerleaders were able to participate in the homecoming parade for our local high school.  The parade started at the middle school and made it's way to the high school.  Once at the high school there was a float contest, performance by the band and then cheerleader performances.  All the local cheerleading squads were able to perform for the high school students which was a lot of fun.  It also was a nice day for me to get to have a day off from teaching.  

I couldn't be more thankful that it is Friday.  These past few weeks have been so tiring and I'm ready for a fresh start.  I start new units new units next week which I'm excited about.  I also plan on trying to exercise more next week so I can gain some energy. Next week is also our last football game of the season.  I will be very thankful to have a few weeks off of cheerleading before basketball starts up.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Professional Development: Mesopotamia

   I absolutely love to learn new things, that is one of the main reasons I became a teacher.  I miss being in college and opening up brand new textbooks (yes, that is the nerd in me). One of my teacher evaluation standards that I chose to work on this year was knowing the content that I teach.   I feel like I can easily come up with fun ideas for teaching but I don't remember ever learning some of the things in our curriculum.  Therefore, one of my goals is to do some intense studying before I start teaching something.  I've decided to reflect on what I have learned by posting some interesting facts on my blog.
   This week I will start teaching Mesopotamia so I have been doing a lot of reading a research about ancient Egypt.  Resources I've used to learn more about this ancient egypt civilization include Discover Kids Magazine, Mr. Donn's Ancient Mesopotamia lesson plan guide, the Bible, Discovery Streaming and

Where is Mesopotamia?

Mesopotamia was where we consider to be modern day Iraq.

It is also known as the "Fertile Crescent" because of the two rivers that run through it.  The Tigris and Euphrates rivers provided rich nutrients to the soil which allowed for better farming conditions. 

2 weeks later...
Yes, I am just now posting this post after writing the start of it two weeks ago.  I'm now finished with my Mesopotamia unit and it went very well.  The past few weeks have been quite stressful with my grandma passing away and a lot going on at work.  As this unit comes to an end I am looking forward to a fresh start with Egypt next week! 

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