Interview Cards Strategy

I might have shared this last year, but it’s one of my favorite strategies to use. I’ve only used it in history, but can see it used EVERYWHERE! πŸ™‚

I’ve used it as a before strategy as a way of reviewing material from the previous day. It gets the kids moving, and they are very engaged!

1. Every student needs an index card.
2. They have to move around the room and interview other students and write the information in the index cards.
3. Return to their seats. Let some of them share.

Our example:

We started studying the Homestead Act. They had to interview 3 students and collect 3 facts about the act.

I give them a time limit- like maybe 3-5 minutes.

They’re really not as loud as you would think they might be! πŸ™‚

Here’s my class in action today.


What’s a favorite strategy you use?

Not enough time

Note to self:

Allow LOTS of time for discussion in history!!!!!!!!!!

Not sure if this will be the case for every topic, but we could NOT stop talking about the Transcontinental Railroad today!!

And you know, looking back on it now, I don’t think we ever reached our objective-to learn about the impact on our country at that time. Nope. We got carried away with how workers were treated and how they built it from both sides of the country to meet in Utah.

How did they secure the gold and silver spikes at the meeting point so they wouldn’t get stolen?

What did the 2 locomotives do after they traveled and met in Utah?

We had so many question (that’s a good thing), and had so many ideas and opinions (that’s a good thing) that our history time was up before we knew it.

So we will see if this proves true with each topic in history this year or if they just became fascinated with this one!! πŸ™‚

LOVED it!!!!!!!!!!!!


Roll and Read Fun

28 days left in school. Spring fever. 6th grade. Need I say more?

With the ants in the pants syndrome that I the kids have right now, I decided to spice things up a bit for me them.

We are studying WWII right now with the next lesson being on how the war affected the people back home. Since this lesson isn’t one of the “sequence” lessons where it has to go in order to make sense I made a “ROLL and READ” activity to put some spark into it for them. πŸ™‚

They will roll a die and read a certain section depending on what number they rolled. Pretty cool, huh?


Here’s a copy of the Roll and Read sheet in PDF format:

Roll and ReadWWII

If you want a template that you can edit here you go:

Roll and ReadWWII2

I grabbed the text that they will read from History On The Net.

On the PDF version I got the cute little clips fromΒ Krista’s Borders.

The cute little hamster clipart came from Melonheadz.

Do you have any ideas to spice things up these last few weeks of school????

ABCs of the American Revolution

This post is a little late, but still wanted to share. We wrapped up our unit on the American Revolution by completing this ABC project. I got this fabulous idea from Sabra (how cool is her name???) over at Teaching With a Touch of Twang. She does a great job explaining the project!

She created an ABC vocabulary list. I let my students choose one word for each letter. Then they had to:

1. Write the word in the letter box

2. Use the word in a sentence

3. Choose 10 to illustrate.

4. Make a colorful heading

I’m not sure what sized paper we used (it was leftover from my Kindergarten days)-it was bigger than 8 X 10. They had to fold it to get the creased boxes.

The kids seemed to really enjoy this project and stayed engaged with it. It was a great way to REVIEW-amazing how a few of them REALLY had to look back in their notebook and textbook for some of the information!

It was meant to be a 2 day project, but… the story goes-it turned into a 3 day project. It ALWAYS takes longer with these types of things. It seems like we are always waiting on 2 or 3 kids to finish. πŸ™‚




Definitely something we will do again.

Thank you, Sabra!!!!! πŸ™‚

Ellis Island Immigration Simulation


Students lined up at the 1st checkpoint to get into America. This is the registration station where they had to tell where and who they were going to live with in America. They also had to tell the “officer” what job they would be working. A few didn’t make it past this checkpoint and had to return to the ship.

The next checkpoint was the medical examiner who checked them for any signs of unhealthiness. Some made it into America after this, a few got sent to the hospital to wait out a sickness. A few had to return to the ship.

The picture below is just showing the signs for each checkpoint.


This was a great simulation to show the students what it might have felt like to try and come to American and to either make it or be rejected. Of course, we will never be able to truly recreate those feelings, but it was better than just reading it in a textbook. πŸ™‚

We also watched a short video clip of Coming to America.

Their test included a question where they had to name one adjective to describe their emotions/feelings during their journey and then explain why.

I will most definitely do this simulation again. I might add a couple of stations and draw it out over a couple of days to really get a sense of what it was like.

Transcontinental Railroad-Choo Choo

Transcontinental Railroad. Late 1800s. 6th grade curriculum. 12 year olds who would rather be talking with their friends, facebooking, going to the movies. Do you see where I’m headed with this? I had to do SOMETHING that would keep them engaged. I wanted them to know:

1. How hard it was to build

2. How it felt to be mistreatedΒ 

3. How important it was to our country

Definitely got the 1st 2 across and hope they understood the 3rd one as well. πŸ™‚

Each student had to wear a name card identifying who they were while building their part of the railroad. An apology to the Chinese immigrants who were treated unfairly.



The bottom railroad was made by one class who had more time to work while the top one was made by the class who didn’t have as much time.

It was ORGANIZED CHAOS in our room. πŸ™‚

They had rulers to measure the paper, and I wrote the measurements on the board of what they needed to do.

However, here is a bit of wisdom.

DO NOT ASSUME that they all know how to measure with rulers.Β 

DO NOT ASSUME that they can do this by reading measurements on the board.

I think I will make a section of the track in front of them next year before I let them go at it. πŸ™‚

It’s amazing the things I learn each day from my students!!

It ended up being an engaging activity that I will have them do every year that I teach history!


French and Indian War Comic Strips





Now this was FUN! I’m hoping it made a lasting impression and led to a greater understanding of the French and Indian war. Which by the way-in my opinion wasn’t named correctly since it was a war between the French and British with the Indians being allies of the French. How confusing is that???? They should have kept 5th graders in mind when naming this one. πŸ™‚

We had already read and discussed the French and Indian War and taken notes on it before we did this activity. And STILL-I think I might should have required the same information for everyone in the 4 frames. If you could see each one you would notice that a couple of kids got a little confused about the Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty of Paris. I mean who wouldn’t? So note to self for next year-TEACH FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR, MAKE COMIC STRIPS, THEN LEARN ABOUT PONTIAC’S REBELLION. πŸ™‚ PROBLEM SOLVED!

I originally put this in my lesson plans for 2 days-2 class periods that is. Next year it will be going down in the books for 3 days. Unless I have them finish it for homework, and I’m not too keen on homework. πŸ™‚

All in all, this was FUN, engaging, and student centered. I have detected another problem though. When the kids are actively working on something where they don’t need too much of my help I GET BORED! I’m thinking of buying a pedometer to see how many miles I walk each day at school in my classroom. πŸ™‚ Maybe I should start making what they make when it’s a project like this!!!!

This is definitely a lesson/activity that I will repeat in the years to come!






Since I don’t really have an original bone in my body here are a couple of links where I got this idea. πŸ™‚

Mr. Husted’s Class

John Jones’ Elementary School

Do you have a lesson/activity that is so good that you will do forever????