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?

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™‚

Assembly line simulation

We have just finished up our WWI unit in 6th grade and are heading into the roaring 20s. I did a mini-lesson yesterday on how an assembly line helped our country with its efficiency. I had them do a little simulation of an assembly line-I’m talking real little, but it was FUN.

There were 10 people on the assembly line-the other half of the class watched and then we swapped. The first person on the line was given a sheet of paper with a black/white outline picture of a car on it.

#1-person hands the next person a car

#2-color left window yellow

#3-color right window yellow

#4-color left wheel green

#5-color right wheel green

#6-write a capital F

#7-write a capital O

#8-write a capital R

#9-write a capital D

#10-inspector looks at finished car and decides to either scrap it or keep it

πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

The first person in the line gave the next person a car every 15 seconds-then we decreased it to 10 seconds-then 5 seconds. Talk about getting backed up!

However, they realized that the more they did the better/faster they got. Specializing in a job. A big component of the idea behind an assembly line.

Prior to the simulation we took some notes and read a little about the cost difference in Henry Ford’s Model T after he began using an assembly line to mass produce the vehicle. $560 per car!!! What a savings-for him and the consumers.

After the simulation I showed them a video clip of the “candy assembly line” on an I LOVE LUCY show. HILARIOUS!!

What I would like to do next time somehow is have 1 group produce something as individuals while another group produces something in an assembly line and time both groups. I’ve seen where teachers have talked about doing this and the assembly line always outproduces the other group. However, I did not plan enough in advance to tackle this. πŸ™‚

It was a great lesson with a lot of laughs!

Song in my head…

In 6th grade we are studying WWI, and this song is playing in my head over and over and over….. πŸ™‚

We read about this song and listened to it. They were shocked at how different the music is from what we listen to now!

Today I started singing part of it, and one of my students said, “Mrs. Shannon, I JUST got that song OUT of my head!” πŸ™‚

Here’s the video:

Life Sized Graphic Organizer

This was not pre-planned. πŸ™‚ This is how it came about. On Thursdays one of my 6th grade classes goes to the library for 30 minutes out of our 1 hour class period which gives us extra time in the 2nd 6th grade class. It was warm outside today and felt soooo good, so I took this class outside for our lesson. Sunshine was my best friend today. πŸ™‚

Our lesson was rather short-the US entering WWI and why. We read with a purpose, did “turn and talk”, shared aloud, repeat. Easy peasy. I LOVE hearing how the kids talk with each other about what they have read!

We finished with about 25-30 minutes left so we borrowed a bucket of sidewalk chalk and mad a HUGE graphic organizer of all the things that led to WWI (that WE are learning about-you high school teachers can add to it later :)).

I broke the kids into groups of 3 and assigned them a cause. They had to figure out how to visually represent that cause within their circle of the graphic organizer. I walked around and observed.

When they all finished I had them grab their notebook and pencil and take a walking tour of the graphic organizer. They had to recreate the organizer in their notebook and fill in the information.

SUPER COOL! Will do this again and again and again…..




Kids working on the graphic organizer.




Example of one of the causes.


Kids doing the walking tour and recording in their notebooks.

This is one of the BEST things I’ve ever come up with on the spot!!!! I am so NOT creative. I’m always borrowing ideas from others. πŸ™‚

What’s your BEST on the spot lesson you’ve done?


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.