Sunday, April 26, 2015

Romper Style

Apparently rompers are all the rage in fashion right now. I've seen them on adults, teens, and toddlers and have even tried on a few styles. Unfortunately, they definitely don't look good on my short, curvy physic but fortunately I do know they are ADORABLE on 4-year-olds and thus I decided to sew one up for the daughter of one of my best friends...enter the Saffron Romper:

sewing girls romper

How absolutely ADORABLE is this romper?! I had already purchased the fabric combination and was planning on making another pattern but decided I'd like to try something new for summer. I searched for 'easy sewing patterns for girls' online and found a variety of options at Sew Sweet Patterns.

The Saffron Romper pattern required no notions other than thread and an elastic, both of which I had on hand, and the pattern was in PDF format so I just downloaded and printed as soon as I made my purchase! It was a quick afternoon sew and would be a relatively easy pattern for a beginning seamstress to handle (I always just look up tutorials on YouTube if there's a skill I don't understand but his one was pretty straightforward). 

The original romper pattern did not call for two fabrics but I thought the contrasting pink would look nice against the floral pattern and add a little bit of fun to the ruffle and bow areas. Both fabrics were purchased a few months ago at Jo-Ann Fabric.
sewing girls romper pattern
Because this is such a quick and easy sew that requires a small amount of fabric and minimal notions, I will definitely be whipping up a few more of these for all the little girls in my life. I love being an 'auntie' to my friends' kids and thankfully they never object when I use their kids to fulfill my need to sew such cute little outfits!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Social Studies Activities

It's Spring Break! I have a moment to breath and was looking back through recent photos on my phone and on Instagram and thought I'd share a few of my favorite fun activities from my social studies classes!

Key Term Review Egg Hunt
A couple of my classes were scheduled to take exams just before Easter and so I thought I'd make our exam review a bit more fun. If you want to see a room full of teenagers go crazy, tell them you've hidden eggs all around the classroom! In each egg was a key term that the students had to define before they could get their prize. The prizes were mostly stickers, erasers, and coupons for a 'special' pencil (see next picture), but a few had Life Savers (I know, I know...don't reward kids with candy). They had a blast, it got them up and moving out of their seats, and they had to review some main ideas, too!

Personalized Pencils

I posted to above pic on my Instagram account to show the awesome personalized pencils I order each year from Oriental Trading Company. I give them out as prizes or at Christmas or the end of year as presents. The kids think they're funny and they make us all smile! Other phrases I've used include

"Abe Lincoln is my Homeboy"
"Sacagawea is my Homegirl"
"I Heart History"
"I Stole this from Miss Rush" (these were on my personal stash of pencils)

Magic Picture Window

I recently tried a new activity with my classes that I call 'Magic Picture Window' (I learned about this activity last summer at an AP summer institute I attended). I cut small rectangles out of index cards and students use the 'magic picture window' cards to look closely at the details of an image. Above, students are examining a primary source (Paul Revere's etching of the Boston Massacre) by looking at the details of the image that's within the window cut out on the cards. It's a fun way for them to focus on details rather than just the image as a whole.

Document Walk

Another recent social studies lesson that the students enjoy focuses on identifying the differences between primary and secondary sources. We first discuss this definition of each source and then I have students walk around the classroom and examine several items I've placed throughout. Their goal is to decide whether the item is a primary or secondary source and jot down a brief rationale. Some examples of the items I use are a photo of my grandmother when she was 15, a photocopy of my datebook calendar from 5 years ago, an outfit I wore as a baby (they LOVE this one), a copy of an historical fiction novel, a DVD, a text book, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and a copy of our local newspaper. The items illicit a great discussion as to what makes a source primary versus secondary.

Junto Society Meeting
Social Studies Lesson Ideas

One of my FAVORITE transition lessons between our unit on the American Revolution and our unit on the 'New Nation', is an activity based on Benjamin Franklin's Junto Society. The Junto was Franklin's social networking group in Philadelphia. The members of his group met once a week at a local pub and discussed a variety of topics meant for 'mutual improvement'. He created a list of discussion questions of which the group was to chat about at their meetings. So, for our lesson, I have the students read 10 of Franklin's questions, figure out what he is asking, re-word the question into friendlier language, and then respond. We then have our own Junto Society meeting at which we drink tea and snack on colonial-inspired dishes. I bring the tea, the kids bring the snacks. It's quite fun and we get to discuss what's going on in their lives and in the world around us! And isn't that the goal of social studies curriculum? 

What about you? 
Have you done any fun social studies lessons with your students?