Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Freebie


December 2014

 
Happy Holidays, Everyone!

    About six weeks ago I began working on ideas for a winter holiday Informational Text Pack. I settled on “5 Things You Didn’t Know about Christmas Songs.” 

    Searching the web looking for unusual facts that would grab the attention of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, I began running across surprising tidbits about tunes I listened to when I was a teen and the songs were brand new. (Ah! Nostalgia, how I love thee!) At other times, it was about titles that have been around for years, but there was always something jaw-dropping popping up on my screen. (Great invention, the Internet!)

   In short, I had a ball with this one! I accumulated so many links and the-kids-will-like-this snippets, I spent almost as much time chiseling down the resources (and identifying the bad information) as I did in the writing. What struck me the most is how much history from the 40s, 50s, and 60s is floating around in the 5 tunes I chose. As a bonus, Wikimedia Commons had public domain photos of at least one person mentioned in every article. The finished product turned out to be a series of history lessons disguised as a fun reading activity, but we can keep the kids in the dark about that if we want!

   My Christmas gift to you—my TpT followers and blog visitors—is a free copy of my favorite one from the bunch. This should fit nicely in your Before-the-Holidays Survival Kit.

 


http://www.takinggrades.com/Links/3Mr.Grinch.pdf
Thurl Ravenscroft
a.k.a. Tony the Tiger
Vocalist:  "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"
 
   If you decide you want it all, the full product is posted on TpT and my website, Taking Grades. It features “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “The Chipmunk Song.”
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Informational-Text-5-Things-You-Didnt-Know-about-Christmas-Songs-1607145
Have a long, restful holiday break!
                Margaret Whisnant
 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pilgrim Table Manners


   This is the first in a series of 5 informational texts I will be posting as free downloads for my TeachersPayTeachers followers and my blog followers.
_____________________________________

Five Things You Didn’t Know about Thanksgiving

#1. The Pilgrims Ate with Their Fingers

by Margaret Whisnant
 

The First Thanksgiving   Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930)
(Image:  Wikimedia Commons)
 
        No, the Pilgrims did not have bad table manners.  They simply used what they had—knives for carving and cutting and spoons for mushy foods.  Forks, as we know them, hadn’t been invented.  

    A type of two-tined instrument was available in England in 1621, but mostly it was used as a companion for a carving knife. The English saw no reason to use it for eating. “Why should a person need a fork,” they asked, “when God has given him hands?”  Besides, their two prongs couldn’t hold on to food like fingers.  Even worse, using a fork was just plain sissy!

    The Pilgrims and the English weren’t the only fork haters. The French were also slow to accept them.  In their opinion, using forks for anything besides carving had a snobby, uppity air about it.  With such a reputation, it was predictable that forks would slowly became a status symbol for rich people, who used them for sticky foods or dishes that might stain their fingers. Still, food continued to slip through the two tines. The development of a French model with four curved tines solved the spillage problem in the late 1600s.  People, rich and common, liked the new design.  Finally in the early 1800s, forks were widely accepted and used in Europe.  By the time they migrated to America, they were 200 years too late for the first Thanksgiving feast. 

     The Pilgrims, therefore, are exonerated!
 
 



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To download your free printable copy of this article with added questions and keys click HEREThis is a word document that you can use as is, or edit to suit the needs of your students. 

 


 
Watch for the second article tomorrow:   #2:  Cranberries Were a Key Ingredient in the World's Original Energy Bar
 
This material is copyrighted by Margaret Whisnant and may be edited or reproduced for classroom use only.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November
has snuck up on us again!
 
 
   How well I remember!  The days between the first day of school to Halloween often seemed to drag along, and then before I knew it, November was here.  The days from November 1 to the last day before Christmas break seemed to fly by in a haze.  What I never figured out was whether my students were hyperactive and excited, or whether it was me.
 
Well, OK!  It was me!
 
   Looking for a free seasonal item to help you let loose the excitement and keep your students focused?  Download this one:
    
 
    Thanksgiving Anagrams    
http://www.takinggrades.com/sample-page/page/2/

 

 
   For a couple of inexpensive lessons, take a look at these:
 
$3.75
http://www.takinggrades.com/product-category/itp/
 
 
$3.95
http://www.takinggrades.com/product-category/5/
 
$4.50
http://www.takinggrades.com/product-category/5/
 
       Enjoy the seasonal rush and the Thanksgiving break!
 
                                                                 Margaret
 


 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Free Bell Ringers and Warm Ups



Free Bell Ringers and Warm Ups
Two Sets
     

     I just finished two sets of bell ringers and warm-ups that will come in handy in 4th-8th grade ELA classrooms during those first few hectic days of back-to-school.  I remember them well, so the activities are FREE, of course!  Download and enjoy
 This one has a spelling activity, a homophone activity, and a compound word challenge appropriate for 4 and 5th graders.  Answer keys  are included.
   This one starts with a seek-a-word puzzle loaded with “zz.”  Next is a homophone activity.  The last page is a compound word workout.  Answer keys are included.
http://takinggrades.com/Freebies/Free6-8.pdf
   This download is more challenging than the 4-5th grade set,  but the two of them would work well together in most 4th-8th grade classrooms.
                                                  
   This two products are exclusive to Taking Grades.  You won’t find them anywhere else!

                                Margaret 
                                My TpT Store
                               Taking Grades