Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day of the Dead Art Lesson Available

If you enjoy introducing your students to holidays and celebrations from around the world or celebrating the heritage of some of your students, this art lesson is a great way to incorporate the Day of the Dead holiday into your classroom.

The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is celebrated between November 1st and 2nd in Mexican and many Southern and Latin American cultures. Instead of a gloomy holiday, it is a way of remembering loved ones that have passed on. Skulls traditionally are used as decorations during the holiday.

In this art lesson, students will create a skull in the style of the Day of the Dead. This is a lesson I have used many times in my own classroom with great success. Students love drawing skulls and are excited by this lesson.

Included in this lesson are a detailed lesson plan with written and illustrated instructions, student examples, a short reading and question answer sheet, and four point rubric.

Please check out this product and download the preview to see more!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies! Birthday Celebration Freebies

An important part of building community is making each student feel important.  What better way to do this than by remembering their birthday.  Below are some great freebies to help your students' special day.

This is a birthday book that you can download and copy for free.  The birthday kid fills out part of it and their classmates fill out part.  It becomes a massive birthday card/memory book.

 Instead of bringing treats, give the birthday kids a fun pen or pencil.  Download these free, cute Happy Birthday badges to attach to the gift.

  Create a birthday board. Download free materials and directions in seconds to create the board in minutes!  (Okay, maybe several minutes if you want it to look good!)

 Have a bilingual classroom?  Teaching Spanish?  Download free birthday cards in Spanish.  Celebrate birthdays throughout the year and reinforce the vocabulary for dates.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Favorite Pinterest Finds!

Like many other teachers out there, Pinterest has been a new and fun way I have found many interesting lesson and teaching ideas on the internet. While I started using Pinterest for other reasons, lesson planning has become one of my primary focuses. Today I am sharing some of my favorite lessons and teaching ideas I have found on Pinterest. You can also check out more of my favorite ideas & lessons on my Pinterest page.

This collection of over 100 free graphic organizers is one of my favorite Pinterest finds. I love graphic organizers since they organize information easily for our students and they are a perfect visual aid. They also can easily be used in many different subject areas. This collection is free and can be used by just about any grade level.

I love using cross-curricular lessons in class and this list of 100 experiments has some great ideas on ways to let kids play and construct while learning engineering skills. I also think some of these ideas could be incorporated into a math or art lesson as well.

This Guess Who? game changing idea is a creative way to take an ordinary game and adapt it to your subject area. I like the idea of changing out the photos of the game to fit the subject you are studying. Instead of photos you could also use other types of images or vocabulary words as well. 

This conversation Jenga game is another great way of adapting an existing game into something more specific for your classroom. Write a question that students must answer every time they pull a piece. You could even have your students write their own questions as well.

This lesson using an orange is such an imaginative and creative lesson! It teaches students not only about the earth's shape but the peel can also flatten to show how regular maps are drawn.

Those are some of my favorite Pinterest finds! To see more things I have pinned on Pinterest, visit my Pinterest page. Please share your favorite Pinterest finds below.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Teaching Imagery...Writing Common Core Standard #3

One of the 5th grade descriptors under the 3rd Common Core Standard for writing reads as follows, "Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely."

If you are looking for an engaging way to teach that, check out my lesson on imagery.    For just $1, you can have a lesson with over a dozen amazing pictures for students of all ages to write about as they practice how to incorporate imagery in their writing.  

It's a great bargain, but don't take my word for it.  Here a review from one of my buyers...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Free Fall Themed Lessons

Fall is the theme of this week's Fabulous Friday Freebies! Below are some fabulous fall freebies for a wide variety of ages and grade levels. If you have a fabulous fall freebie that you would like to share, please let us know in the comments below.

This Twenty Poems and Songs for September is a cute collection of fall themed poems/songs perfect for grades pre-K through 3rd. They would be perfect to use as either examples for poetry writing or for use in a literacy lesson. You could also use it for buddy or shared reading activities.

If you are teaching or reviewing compound words in your classroom, this cute Pumpkin Patch Compound Match center is filled with fall themed compound words. There are also blank pumpkins included so you can add your own words.

Education World has a variety of teaching ideas of how to use leaves in your classroom. Ideas include teaching about photosynthesis, graphing leaves around the school, spelling, and more!

Lastly, as school starts back in the fall Tracee Orman has a fun Back to School Top 10 Lists writing activity which is perfect for a wide variety of ages. There are also suggestions of ways to make this activity useful in other subject areas besides language arts as well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Island Survival Money Game on Sale

If you are teaching money addition skills to your students, my Island Survival Money Game is a fun way to help reinforce those skills. Students earn survival items for their island depending on the total each card adds up to. Your students can also have fun possibly stealing an island survival item from another player.

The game uses the front of backs of bills and coins to help students learn to quickly identify each monetary amount. I'm putting my Island Survival Money Game on sale now through 9/21!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Contest Congratulations!

Congratulations goes to  Diving Into Learning.  She has won our 100+ Follower Free Lesson Giveaway Contest! Diving Into Learning, we have emailed you to arrange for delivery of 2 products of your choosing.  Please contact us by September 22nd to claim your prize. To all of our followers, thanks for your support and interest.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Reading Freebies

This week's freebies post features activities for reading.  Reading touches every subject we teach, and is vitally important to our students' academic success.  So, here are freebies to help you teach reading to every age....

#1: The first is a packet for emergent readers.  It has reading strategies to teach students who are just learning to read.  It includes visual aids and activities.  The packet teaches students the importance of becoming more independent readers.

#2: The second is a great visual aid to help students in the middle elementary grades to read and work through their reading struggles.  There are also free bookmarks to help students remember what to do when they get stuck with tricky vocabulary.

#3: Check out this comprehensive list of reading strategies for middle and high school students.  There are over 110 quality strategies.  Surely everyone can find at least one they haven't tried before!

I hope there is something that every one of our readers can find useful!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Art Across the Curriculum

Using art in the classroom can help your students in many different ways. It is great for kinesthetic learners who like to use their hands and create things in class and is also perfect for reaching visual learners that like to see concepts. Art also improves critical thinking skills and an outlet for anything emotional going on in their lives. If you have students from many different cultures or backgrounds in your class, art is something that all cultures in the world have in common and a work of art transcends language and cultural barriers and is something everyone can understand. Art also promotes skills employers are looking for in the workplace such as self-direction and creativity. Here are some suggestions on different ways to use art in your classroom.

Language Arts

  • Book Making – Making a book is an art form. Have students view an unusual book (such as Griffin and Sabine) and create their own artistic book.
  • Journaling – Have students view a painting and journal about what is happening in the painting, what is took place before the painting was created, or from the point of view of someone in the painting.
  • Character Development – Have students create a new character to add into a book they are reading or have students draw a character from the book. Compare their ideas.
  • Create a setting – Create a setting by choosing a work of art that shows a certain time period. Have students write a story that goes with that image/time/place.
  • Metaphors – Create both written and visually drawn metaphors.


  • Tangrams – Use tangram shapes to create objects. Online there are instructions to make your own tangram sets easily.
  • Perspective drawing – Students will learn how to project a figure onto a 2-D plane while drawing some realistic objects. I have a free PowerPoint on this you can use.
  • Polyhedra – Create cool 3-D polyhedra from ordinary 2-D shapes.
  • Braids & Knots – Check out for a visual exploration of mathematical knots.
  • Good math art resource:


Social Studies

  • Class or Small Group Mural – Particularly in Mexico many artists created mural about Mexico’s history. Students could view the mural and discuss how it relates to Mexico’s history and create a mural either as a class or in a small group on a large paper that describes the history of a selected time period.
  • Time Period Review – Show students a variety of works of art from time periods they have studied. Can they tell which art is from what time?
  • Values – View artwork from different time periods to tell what is valued during each time period. What does the art say about each time period?
  • Cultural Summary – Almost every culture has artwork that is unique to it. After studying a culture creating a work of art related to that is a great end to a unit!
If you enjoyed this article on ways to integrate art into your classroom, check out the related post here.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

100+ Follower Free Lesson Giveaway Contest! - CLOSED

As a celebration of reaching more than 100 followers on our blog, we have decided to throw a fun contest! In this contest you can win two of the following free teaching products. You let us know which ones you would like to win from the four fabulous choices below!

The first product you can choose from is my 50 Fast Finishers Creative Art Activities packet. It contains 50 printable art drawing sheets that encourage creativity. They are perfect for the fast or early finishers in your classroom!

The second packet you can choose from is this fun Winter Bingo game! This bingo game helps students learn vocabulary and concepts from four major winter holidays including Christmas, Hanukkah, Posadas, and Kwanzaa. Thirty bingo cards are included so your entire class will easily be able to play this fun game!

The third packet you can choose from is my I Love America! literacy centers packet. This literacy centers packet includes 10 centers based on a patriotic, American theme. This packet is recommended for grades 3-5.

The last packet you can choose from is this comprehensive Spanish centers packet. This packet includes more than 35 pages of activities for an introductory Spanish class. Included is information about numbers, time, vocabulary and more!

Ready to enter? You can receive up to five entries into the contest.

1. Enter by simply leaving a comment below.
2. Follow our blog and leave a comment below that you have followed us.
3. Follow my store on Teachers Pay Teachers for one additional entry and leave a comment below stating that you follow my store.
4. Follow Etc's Teachers Pay Teachers store for an additional entry and leave a comment below stating that you follow her store.
5. Like my Lesson Lady Facebook page for a fourth entry and leave a comment below stating that you have done so.

Make sure to leave your email address so we will be able to contact you if you win!

The contest will run from Sunday, September 9th - Friday, September 14th, 2012. The winner will be selected by on Saturday the 15th. Good luck!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Spanish: Unit 1 Materials

Check out Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  There you'll find a number of printable activities at reasonable prices to use for centers, exams, quizzes, homework, class work, sub plans, etc.  Unit I materials cover the vocabulary for numbers, greetings, calendar and time.

The activities include Spanish Centers: Introductory Unit, Spanish Centers: Greetings, Spanish Centers: Los Numeros, an 80 page compilation of activities, and much, much more (including 5 brand new activities).

Everything comes with answer key and/or rubrics.  And, at $1-5, everything is priced to sell.  Don't reinvent the wheel, creating activities.  Check out the store's digital resources today!

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Games to Play in Your Classroom!

Fabulous Friday freebies are here again today! Team and community building are very important and help establish an atmosphere in your classroom to encourage students to help one another and work together to succeed. Games are a great way to incorporate educational subjects and team building together into one activity. Here are some great free games and activities that you can use in your classroom.

My Zoo Animal Math Game is a fun freebie and can be adapted and played with either addition, subtraction, or multiplication depending on the difficulty level of the students. Check it out!

I loved this set of more than 40 free Daily Wordplay games. This would be perfect for the last 5 minutes of class or whenever you have a few extra moments. You could even divide your class into teams or have students do this individually for fast finishers. It is very verastile!

This packet is a huge list of Active Games that you can use to incorporate movement into the classroom. It lists many different games and a quick description of each. I usually like to asking questions about the subject we are studying into active games to help make it into a class review.

This is a site I have mentioned a while back but feel it is worth it to mention again. This site has a huge amount of PowerPoint game templates which can be adapted for any age level or any subject area. This is a huge time saver for teachers!

Last is this fun Hunger Games Survival Scenario game. Since the Hunger Games have been hugely popular, this is something many of our students are familiar with. This game could be a fun team building activity or a game you could tie in after reading the book in class. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Creating Culture & Establishing Purpose

How do we as teachers create a culture and establish a purpose in our classroom?  The whole thing is a bit like an iceberg, isn't it?  There are the activities that we plan out, and an outsider can read in our lesson plans and curriculum maps.  There are the ice breakers and the way we arrange our room and the concrete goals we set.  But, if we are to create space that fosters learning and sets our students on a path to success, it must be more than a program.  It must come from within us and be woven into the way we interact with each other.  It must be rooted in our values, those intangibles we hold so dearly that they drive our actions and speech.  Those things that lie below the surface, but give substance to our lives.

How do we learn to work together?  By focusing on our shared values.  First you must find a way to access those.

One of the best team building activities I've ever done is one developed by Marshall Ganz out of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  It is called the story of Self, Us and Now.  I've done this with adults in an organization/workplace and young people in a school.  It has worked because it is simple and effective.  To begin, people get into small groups and share their story of self.  One at a time, they tell a story about a past challenge and/or tough choice they had to make.  They share what they did, how they responded.  Finally, they relate their story to where they are now, how they came to be part of the organization they are with at that particular moment.  This allows people a glimpse into each other's past.  More importantly, is shows the inner strengths and values that each person brings to the team.

During the Story of Us, the leader discusses the group and their shared values.  He or she tells the story of how the organization came to be.  Finally, the leader shares the Story of Now, where the purpose is established.  It is a very effective way to bind people together.  They are just stories, but in every story there is a moral.  That is where the value lies.  That is where they get a glimpse at each other's substance, the stuff that lies below the surface and drives our every move.

I strongly encourage you to check this out and give it a try, be that with staff, students or both.  Then, let us know how it goes!

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