Black History Month Biographies {for Upper Elementary}

Black History Month {February} is right around the corner!
Blog post filled with engaging and interactive Black History Month activities. Challenge your upper elem. students as they read 5 biographies of African Americans who stood up for justice. Packet includes Black History reading comprehension, graphic organizers, and creativity bulletin board display. Full answer keys are included. Resource created by Jessica Lawler.
To get you ready and to simplify your lesson planning, I've got a FUN & ENGAGING packet chocked-full of print-and-go
teacher-friendly activities for your upper elementary students:
Blog post filled with engaging and interactive Black History Month activities. Challenge your upper elem. students as they read 5 biographies of African Americans who stood up for justice. Packet includes Black History reading comprehension, graphic organizers, and creativity bulletin board display. Full answer keys are included. Resource created by Jessica Lawler.
When studying specific people during Black History Month,
I always shared with my students the rationale behind the people that I chose. I wanted them to study people of character.
Those who lived their lives with purpose.
Those who stood up for what was right. 

This "Heart for Justice" packet stemmed from my desire to honor those who championed equal rights and helped to better the world around them. Teach your students about what JUSTICE means - and how much some were willing to sacrifice to make justice a reality.

This mega packet is everything you need to teach your students during Black History Month (February) - simply print and go! 
Full answer keys and classroom samples are included.

This packet focuses on 5 note-worthy African Americans:
Harriet Tubman
Booker T. Washington
Rosa Parks
Jackie Robinson
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The packet includes five activities for your study of each person:
*One-page biography
*Note-taking Graphic Organizer
*Interactive Notebook Foldables
*Compare & Contrast Writing Prompt, Graphic Organizer, and Essay Paper
*“They Had a Heart for Justice” Craftivity/Bulletin Board Display

Here's a photo preview of all that's included:
Blog post filled with engaging and interactive Black History Month activities. Challenge your upper elem. students as they read 5 biographies of African Americans who stood up for justice. Packet includes Black History reading comprehension, graphic organizers, and creativity bulletin board display. Full answer keys are included. Resource created by Jessica Lawler.
If you're interested in the unit, but want to check it out before you purchase, you can download my FREE SAMPLER - it includes all of the activities in the packet that pertain to Harriet Tubman, an African American who demonstrated her HEART for JUSTICE:
Blog post filled with engaging and interactive Black History Month activities. Challenge your upper elem. students as they read 5 biographies of African Americans who stood up for justice. Packet includes Black History reading comprehension, graphic organizers, and creativity bulletin board display. Full answer keys are included. Resource created by Jessica Lawler.
If you download this free sampler, please leave feedback :)

And if you like what you see, you can purchase the full unit
which includes all of the activities for four other note-worthy African Americans:


If you're looking for more resources specifically about Dr. Martin Luther King, you can check out my 55-page, print-and-go MLK MEGA Packet.

Do you have a favorite activity that you use in your classroom during Black History Month? Or what about a children's book that captures the heart of an African American champion? I'd love to hear about it - please share in the comments section below.
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Birthday Celebration GIVEAWAY!

Big news! 
Today's my birthday!
Woohoo!

I'm off for a fun-filled day of 2 different play dates mommy time/adult conversation and then I'll be celebrating with my best guys at Outback tonight! Bring on the cheese fries! :)

While I'm celebrating with my in-person buds, I wanted to do something special for you, my blogosphere buds!

So I've planned a little GIVEAWAY for you!
To thank you all for your continued support of my blog and my TPT store, as well as your sweet comments and e-mails, I'd love to give one special someone $27 to spend in my TPT store!

You can peruse my store and start planning what you'll spend $27 on by clicking here:

For your chance to win, enter the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Celebrate Compliment Day by Teaching Your Child the Value of Kind Words


Mark Twain once said, 
“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

As parents and teachers, we have the power to speak life into those around us.  
Whose life will you brighten with a compliment today?
National Compliment Day is celebrated every year on January 24th.  On that day, people around the country intentionally go out of their way to compliment their family members, friends, classmates, coworkers, etc. It’s amazing how a genuine compliment can encourage and uplift someone. 
I challenge you to compliment five people on January 24th – and then enjoy the sparkle in their eye and the extra bounce in their step. You have the power to make someone’s day!
Not sure where to start? Here are 3 activities you can use in your home or classroom to celebrate National Compliment Day.

1) Write Notes

“A handwritten note takes time but shows that they’re worth the effort.” ~Julia Joy
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Give your students the opportunity to write notes of appreciation to someone. It’s a worthwhile exercise, as it will ask the children to intentionally focus on someone’s strengths and help to practice the art of giving a genuine compliment.          
You can download these FREE print-and-go note templates from my Educents store.

2) Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud is a wonderful book that teaches kids the importance of spreading kindness through both words and actions.
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Here’s the synopsis: Everyone in the world has an imaginary bucket that they carry around. All day long people are either filing it or dipping into it with their words and actions. When you “fill” someone’s bucket (by doing or saying something kind and generous), then your bucket gets filled too. However, when you “dip” into someone’s bucket (by hurting their feelings, excluding them, hurting them physically, etc.) then you empty your bucket as well.
This book is written for a younger audience, but even my 5th graders loved it. They understood the concept and know that I hold them responsible for their words and actions.
buckets
We created a bulletin board with our “buckets” on it and intentionally filled one another’s buckets with “water” (aka blue beads) when we spoke kindly, complimented one another, shared, helped a struggling friend, etc.
There are a ton of resources available to supplement this great book. 

3) We TREASURE Our Classmates

I usually do this activity around St. Patrick’s Day – but it would be perfect for National Compliment Day as well! Each student drew the name of a classmate and was given a gold coin. On that coin, they wrote three kind adjectives to encourage that classmate: 
And then we thought we would make one for our Principal – just to brighten his day :)
3He loved it!

This National Compliment Day, challenge your students – and yourself! – to be on the lookout for people who could use a compliment. Then, hopefully, the art of giving compliments will become a lifelong habit.
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FREE Activities for Opposite Day (Jan. 25th)

Good-bye teachers!
Sad similar night no one!

While that may read like a bunch of gibberish - it isn't! I'm practicing for National Opposite Day! :)
You see, that's how I greet my kiddos every year on Opposite Day - which happens every year on January 25th. So what I'm really saying to them is:

Hello students!
Happy Opposite Day everyone!

Get it? :)

As a 5th grade teacher, one of my goals was to engage my students to such a degree that they wanted to come to school each day. One way of maximizing student engagement without compromising learning time was creating packets that capitalized on their interests and let them have FUN while developing and practicing important skills.

Here is one of those packets:
National Opposite Day (yes, it is a real thing) is coming up! This year it's Monday, January 25th. Carve out some extra time to have {structured} fun with your students. It will be a day they won't soon forget! This *FREE* packet includes a poster to hang on your door as well as some ideas for celebrating Opposite Day in the classroom/home.

It also includes 5 activity pages that will stretch their imaginations while reviewing important skills.
1."My Opposite Age" asks students to imagine that the numbers in their age have been switched!  They must write a journal entry about what their life is now like – and include a picture!. (For example if they are 06 years old, they pretend that they’re 60! If they’re 12 years old, they pretend they’re now 21.) Note: If they’re 11 years old, they can choose to be 1 or 110 :)
2. "Antonyms are Amazing" gives students practical experience with opposites - antonyms!
3. "An Opposite Adventure" tells a strange story - the students must read it and switch out the underlined words for their opposites - and re-write the story so it makes sense.
 4. "A Day of Opposites" is a creative writing prompt that asks students to write about a day they have in which EVERYTHING is OPPOSITE
And finally, 5. "Opposite Learning" gives kiddos some practice with basic skills - but with an OPPOSITE twist :)
This was good practice, even for my 5th graders - they were a little rusty on their alphabet and basic math facts. It's good to brush up every now and again :)

You can download this packet for FREE here:
If you download this packet and use it in your classroom, please come back and leave feedback! It helps me to hone my craft and provides helpful information to other shoppers :)

Looking for other activities to use in the classroom in the coming weeks? Check out these student-tested and teacher-approved products to simplify your lesson planning!

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Martin Luther King Day STEALS!

Today I'm blogging over at Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals!
If you haven't followed that blog yet - check it out! Each day an awesome seller features one of their products and puts it on sale for $1 for a limited time.

Today I've got a Dollar Steal to share with you!
For this week only - my well-loved poster packet of Martin's Big Words will be on sale for only $1!

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport is an incredibly inspiring story about the courage, sacrifice demonstrated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
You can check this book out of your local library or click here to purchase it on Amazon: Martin's Big Words - Amazon

This packet is a supplement to your reading of the book and includes 10 print-and-go ink-friendly posters of important and poignant quotes from the story. 
Also included is a student activity page to extend your students' learning.

Click here to visit my TpT store and snag this packet for only $1!

Looking for more Martin Luther King Day activities?
This packet is included in my MLK MEGA Packet:
Make lesson planning a breeze with this ready-to-use packet that will inform, challenge, and edify your students as you learn about Dr. King's legacy and the lasting impact he made on our world.

You can purchase this 55-page MEGA packet (which includes the Martin's Big Words poster set) for only $5.  Click here to check it out: MLK MEGA Packet

Happy Tuesday, friends!

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What Celebration Is - Shauna Neiquist

Happy Monday!
Welcome to another week.
Another week of ups and downs.
Another week of opportunities to invest in the lives of your husband and kiddos.
Another week of meal prep and laundry and carpools.
Another week of mundane moments.
Another week of important moments.
Commit to making this week count.
Because it will never come again.

At one of my MOPS meetings last fall we watched a video by author and speaker Shauna Neiquist - she shared with us about celebrating the small moments, valuing our friendships, and being intentional about reaching out to those around us.


I was really impressed by her sweet and spunky style - and put her book Savor on my Christmas list.

It's a daily devotional with short stories/words of wisdom for each day. I'm only 11 days in, but so far, I highly recommend it. Plus it has delicious recipes sprinkled throughout, so that's always a plus in my book :)

I wanted to share one of the devotionals from a couple days ago as it has really stuck with me:

Blessings & Curses
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good." 
Genesis 50:20
When you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that's when you start to learn what celebration is. When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that's celebration.

When you can invest yourself deeply and unremittingly in the life that surrounds you instead of declaring yourself out of the game, once and for all, because what's happened to you is too bad, too deep, too ugly for anyone to expect you to move on from, that's a good rich place. That's where the things that looked like curses start to stand up and shimmer and dance, and you realize that they may have been blessings all along. Or maybe not. Maybe they were curses, but the force of your belief and hope and desperate love for life has brought a blessing from the curse, like water from a store, like life from a tomb, like the life-giving story of God's grace over and over again.

You can check out Shauna's website here: Shauna Neiquist
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Martin Luther King Day Resources

A week from Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day - are you ready?!? Here is a blog post chocked-full of ideas I used in my 5th grade classroom:
Martin Luther King Jr.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week we're spending some time discussing MLK and his contribution to shaping this nation.

We're going to use several items from my MLK Mega Packet:
Here's a preview of what's included in the 55-page MEGA Packet!
This ready-to-use packet that will inform, challenge, and edify your students as you learn about Dr. King's legacy and the lasting impact he made on our world.

To kick off our study, we're going to read a couple of
Martin Luther King books:
 
and one of my all-time favorites, 
Martin's Big Words
One of the best things about this book is the powerful words and the incredible illustrations:
 To accompany this book and extend my student's learning about the power of words, I have created a Poster Packet of important quotes from the story:
 You could use this activity either before or after reading the story. I use it after reading it through once. I hang the quote posters around the classroom and have the students walk through and read them. Then, I have them think about what the quote means and how it could be used to influence and encourage people to pick up the cause of civil rights.
 Here's the preview of the posters plus a student activity sheet to use:
You could also divide your students into groups and assign each one a quote. They could focus in one what the quote means and then prepare a short presentation for the class.
These posters could also be used as a
thought-provoking bulletin board.

Note: This packet is included in my MLK Mega Packet and is also sold separately in my TpT store.

Inside the Head of a Leader
And then to continue our unit, we will discuss what made Martin Luther King, Jr. a great leader. 
{Here is the example of an activity we did last year}
We listed the qualities of leadership he exhibited and things he was passionate about inside his "head."
Disclaimer: I am by NO MEANS an artist, so don't judge my poor representation of MLK :) 
I told the students that Martin wasn't the only leader in history. We discussed various examples of other heroes and their characteristics (many of which over-lapped). I then told them I was staring at FUTURE leaders. 

"Inside the Head of a FUTURE Leader"

We repeated the exercise, only this time each student got a profile of a boy or girl and filled it's head with leadership qualities they have and different things they are passionate about. They turned out SO well!


It was an awesome opportunity for the students to not only learn about what makes a great leader - but for them to then see what it will take for them to become a future generation of leaders.
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